Sunday, April 22 , 2018, 2:36 pm | Fair 69º


Trust for Public Land Donates Devereux Slough Golf-Course Property to UCSB

The Trust for Public Land on Tuesday gave to UC Santa Barbara a 64-acre former golf course in upper Devereux Slough, which will immediately provide more ways for people to reach an existing network of public trails and parks.

The donation came a month after The Trust for Public Land bought the land for $7 million from Mark Green, who had operated the Ocean Meadows Golf Course on it. The land is located just north of UCSB’s Coal Oil Point Reserve. Devereux Creek runs across the property, through a slough of the same name and into the Pacific Ocean a half-mile away.

“This is a wonderful gift for the people of the Santa Barbara coast, and it is a great example of our mission of protecting land for people,” said Sam Hodder, California director of The Trust for Public Land. “It will provide new trails which connect to a network of other lands which have already been protected. In addition, the property will also be restored to a healthy wetland open for people to explore and enjoy.”

“UC Santa Barbara is pleased to partner with The Trust for Public Land on this worthwhile project,” Chancellor Henry Yang said. “The UCSB campus is proud of its efforts to acquire and set aside large portions of the Devereux and West Campus bluffs area for reserve and open space. The addition of this land will allow us to collectively implement a more inclusive, coherent and comprehensive management plan for the entire Devereux Slough. We look forward to working together to preserve this beautiful and ecologically important area for education, research and public enjoyment, now and for generations to come.”

The land is already home to several fish and animals protected under the federal Endangered Species Act, including the tidewater goby, a fish, and the California least tern and the western snowy plover, both of which are birds.

“Saving this extraordinary open space will help educate people about the importance of coastal wetlands, most of which have been lost in California. It is one of The Trust for Public Land’s finest acquisitions,” said Duncan Mellichamp of Santa Barbara, a member of The Trust for Public Land’s California Advisory Board.

The $7 million cost came from a variety of public and private money, including $2.5 million from the California Coastal Conservancy. Santa Barbara County granted $750,000, and other money came from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, California Department of Transportation, Goleta Valley Land Trust, California Wildlife Conservation Board and the California Resources Agency.

Restoration of the property will begin with a planning process that will include listening to views from local residents and neighbors.

Protection of the upper Devereux Slough is supported by a number of elected officials, including Rep. Lois Capps, state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, Assemblyman Das Williams and Santa Barbara County Supervisor Doreen Farr, whose district includes the property.

“Acquiring the ecologically significant upper Devereux Slough property in the wake of Earth Day couldn’t be more fitting,” Farr said. “In addition to protecting and enhancing the natural resources and open space now, completing this critical acquisition will soon lead to new public access for passive recreation and education. I am so pleased that the county pledged its early financial support that has led to this very important day.”

“I want to personally congratulate all who have worked hard to purchase this land over the years, including the University of California Santa Barbara and The Trust for Public Land,” Capps said. “Through these tremendous efforts, the upper reaches of Devereux Slough will be protected, providing habitat for wildlife native to the Central Coast and open space our whole community will always enjoy.”

Williams added: “As a member of the State Coastal Conservancy Board, I am pleased that we have come to the end of a long, collaborative road with The Trust for Public Land to acquire the Ocean Meadows/Upper Devereux Slough property. We can now renew our collaboration to restore this property, thus furthering a concerted effort to improve conditions of coastal estuaries, particularly at Goleta and Devereux Sloughs.”

— Tim Ahern is the director of media relations for The Trust for Public Land.

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