Following the recent storms that brought additional sediment to the San Antonio Debris Basin, Santa Barbara County Public Works will begin to take this material to Goleta Beach County Park as soon as Tuesday, March 24.

Public Works started beach deposit operations just west of the Goleta Beach Bridge on March 20, with material from watersheds affected by the Thomas Fire.

“With the recent rain event this weekend, the San Antonio Basin received an inordinate amount of sediment that is ideal for beach deposits, and naturally drains to the Goleta Slough and ultimately Goleta Beach,” said Public Works Director Scott McGolpin.

“All of this sediment was trapped within our Flood Control system and this operation completes the trip that Mother Nature could not,” he said.

Before beach deposit operations, the Flood Control District obtains emergency permits from state and federal agencies. These agencies include the California Coastal Commission, Regional Water Quality Control Board, and California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The Flood Control District also obtains a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers which coordinates with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, and the State Lands Commission, among others.

Sediment samples taken from the debris basins are tested for grain size, gasoline/diesel, pesticides, and metals.

In addition to using upland disposal sites and local beaches for sediment deposits, the county continues to develop a plan for regional debris removal. Since July 2019, the county has worked with the cities of Santa Barbara, Goleta, Carpinteria and Buellton to create a plan for debris removal and management.

The Disaster Debris Management Plan for the South Coast and Santa Ynez Valley is currently under development and expected to be publicly presented in the fall.

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