Friday, February 23 , 2018, 11:04 am | Fair 53º

 
 
 
 

UCSB Hosts Community Meeting to Discuss Wetland, Habitat Restoration at North Campus

Members of the North Campus Open Space restoration project field questions, seek public input

UCSB is poised to begin the North Campus Open Space restoration project.
UCSB is poised to begin the North Campus Open Space restoration project. (George Foulsham / The UCSB Current photo)

Approximately 40 people gathered in the community center of the Sierra Madre Apartments Feb. 23, 2016, to hear an update on the UC Santa Barbara North Campus Open Space (NCOS) restoration project.

Members of the NCOS Project committee and of the NCOS Science Advisory Board, which developed the project program, were on hand to take comments from area residents and to answer their questions.

The meeting was designed to elicit broad input, foster discussion of the evolving plan and engage the public in the process. UCSB is undertaking the restoration project in collaboration with the Trust for Public Land (TPL) and numerous public agencies.

In 2013, TPL purchased 63 acres of Ocean Meadows Golf Course and subsequently gifted the property to UCSB to serve as long-term stewards of the land.

The goal of the project is to revive and preserve wetlands on the upper Devereux Slough, which some 50 years ago was filled with soil to create Ocean Meadows Golf Course.

Integration of adjacent uplands will bring the NCOS total area to 136 acres and create an expanse of coastal habitat that extends some three miles along the Ellwood Devereux coast.

According to project manager Ed Schmittgen, an associate director of design and construction services for UCSB, California Environmental Quality Act documents on the project are expected to be released by spring, after which the campus will seek all the required approvals and permits to initiate work at the site.

The first phase of the two-year-long project is expected to begin in August and continue through November.

The project would consist of the initial grading, which is necessary to create the walking trails. After suspending operations for the rainy season, work would commence on excavation, bridge building and planting.

According to Marc Fisher, UCSB vice chancellor for administrative services, the restoration is meant to bring the area as close as possible to its original state, which includes low-lying wetlands and native coastal and salt marsh plants, as well as to provide an adequate corridor for wildlife to move back and forth.

Among the concerns voiced by residents were issues related to the grading process: the disruption caused by bulldozers and other earth-moving vehicles, excessive dust and limited — though temporary — coastal access.

However, Fisher noted that each phase of the project will be fine-tuned for efficiency and safety, while maintaining as much access as possible to the open space and to coastal trail routes.

“I appreciate the design,” said homeowner John Olson. “Usually I’m negative toward a lot of things that are going on, but I just want to express a positive view.”

The North Campus Open Space Restoration Project Draft Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration is now available for public review and comment. It can be found at http://www.facilities.ucsb.edu/departments/campus-planning-design/current-projects

The review period continues through Monday, March 28, 2016, and comments can be directed via email to [email protected].

Written comments, postmarked no later than 5 p.m. Monday, March 28, should be sent to the Office of Campus Planning and Design, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106.

Andrea Estrada writes for the UCSB Office of Public Affairs and Communications.

 
  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.



Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >