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Supervisors Want Goleta Beach Protected

Unanimous vote approves permeable groin to retain sand and widen popular beach park.

On a 4-0 vote, the county Board of Supervisors backed stepped-up anti-erosion measures for popular Goleta Beach County Park.

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Janet Wolf
The motion by 2nd District Supervisor Janet Wolf directed staff to send its Coastal Access and Recreation Enhancement Program for Goleta Beach to the state Coastal Commission for review and approval.

The CARE program is a plan to protect the existing sandy beach at the mouth of the Goleta Slough by means of a permeable pier, a method intended to retain sand and prevent further erosion of the beach and park, which draws more than 1 million visitors a year. Temporary permits for the current protective rock revetments were to expire this month. The project is estimated to cost nearly $10 million over a 20-year period.

For more than six years, community groups, public officials and private citizens have explored options to protect the beach while minimizing any adverse impact on the coastal ecosystem. The final two choices were the permeable groin and the concept of "managed retreat."

The groin, which would be constructed alongside Goleta Beach Pier, would serve as a natural barrier, slowing the movement of sand down the coastline and allowing the gradual buildup of protective sand at the park. The managed retreat option would involve removing the current protective rock infrastructure, to allow natural erosion to occur over time, essentially allowing the ocean to reclaim the sandbar on which the park sits.

Third District Supervisor Brooks Firestone was absent Tuesday.

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