Sunday, October 21 , 2018, 11:58 pm | Fair 61º


Captain’s Log: Capping Off Wellhead Cleans Up Critter Habitat

That ungainly looking barge and crane that have been working in the surf zone off Carpinteria is doing some wonderful, much needed work to clean up the surf zone for critters and people alike. We have Fish Reef Project to thank.

Chris Goldblatt, the founder of this forward-thinking organization that specializes in creating inshore habitat for building biomass, homes for sealife and kelp restoration, spotted and reported a leaking well cap in the surf zone last year.

At that time, much sand had been washed away from the beaches by nature’s forces.

Subsequent to Goldblatt’s reporting, which was picked up by local news media, further assessments were done and multiple old wellheads were found, usually under sand, that have been leaking oil into our precious coastal environment for decades.

That leaking oil means unhealthy contaminants for coastal zone critters and people alike.

Fishes, including barred surf perch, corbina, halibut, sharks, rays and others have been affected or chose to stay away from the yukky area. Shore birds were subject to the contaminants.

Contaminants like this can affect critters we love and care about in bad ways that affect their immediate health, their susceptibility to disease, immune systems, ability to process food and their reproductive capability.

So this well-capping work is incredibly important.

Beach-goers, not as chemically sensitive as critters since we spend less time in the water, have been recreating on these beaches for a long time, mostly without knowing of the contaminates brewing below our feet and filtering through the sand to affect us.

Now finally, the state is capping the old leaking wellheads and trying to clean up the area for the benefit of critters and people.

My well-worn hat is doffed to Goldblatt of Fish Reef Project for helping to clean our inshore habitat and also for his efforts to enhance our inshore environs to benefit finfish, shellfish, kelp and other plants.

This good work is why Deckers Corporation recently partnered with Fish Reef Project to offer employees a way to support the good works.

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit to learn more about the organization and how you can help. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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