Heavy equipment is used earlier this year to protect Goleta Beach Park against erosion caused by heavy storm surf. The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors is seeking long-term solutions to the problem. (Sam Goldman / Noozhawk photo)
  • Crews construct an emergency rock revetment at Goleta Beach Park to protect the park from further erosion from high surf and storm tides.
  • Authorities closed the pier at Goleta Beach Park after erosion weakened the base of the structure at the shore. The pier will reopen when the base has been stabilized.
  • Waves break beyond an emergency rock revetment at Goleta Beach Park on Saturday.
  • Contruction crews dump fresh rocks at Goleta Beach Park to protect the shore from pounding waves.
  • A tree in the backyard of a house in the 6500 block of Del Playa Drive in Isla Vista dropped off the top of the storm-damaged bluffs late Friday.
  • A chunk of a backyard in the 6500 block of Del Playa Drive in Isla Vista disappeared late Friday after a tree collapsed over the edge of the cliff.
  • As the base of the bluffs erode in the 6500 block of Del Playa Drive in Isla Vista, crews have been scaling back a backyard deck at one residence up above.
  • Hot Springs Creek had plenty of water flowing through it Saturday afternoon in Montecito.
  • An oak tree toppled overnight in Montecito, narrowly missing a rabbit hutch but damaging a chicken coop and a neighbor’s roof.
  • Cold Springs Creek rushes down the mountainside Saturday morning in the Montecito foothills.
  • Cold Springs Creek in Montecito.
  • The 900 block of East Mountain Drive in Montecito is littered with boulders after Friday’s heavy rains.

The recent rains may have delivered a welcome dose of the water that drought-stricken Santa Barbara County so desperately needs, but the storms also have been pounding local beaches and bluffs.

The last week’s storms and wave action prompted officials to close down the pier at Goleta Beach Park after the structure’s base at shore was found to be damaged by erosion.

The pier was closed “out of an abundance of caution,” said Dan Gira of Amec Foster Wheeler, the engineering and project management company the county hired to perform emergency construction work at the beach.

Gira, who was overseeing the construction, said the base was damaged, but the supports beneath the pier itself were fine.

The pier will reopen, he said, as soon as crews determined the base to be safe again.

Crews were also installing an emergency rock revetment along the beach, which has been eaten away by storms and waves. Gira said the goal is to have the work finished by Tuesday morning, when tall, 10-foot swells are expected to roll in.

The revetment, he added, is a temporary, Coastal Commission-sanctioned solution. After Tuesday, engineers will be out at the county’s most-visited park to determine a more permanent fix.

The revetment currently in place in front of the Beachside Bar-Café, which sits right next to the beach by the pier, is sufficient to protect the restaurant, Gira said. Two years ago, 16-foot swells damaged the back of the restaurant.

Also falling victim to recent storms’ pummeling were the cliffs along Isla Vista, where a tree in the backyard of a Del Playa Drive house dropped onto the beach late Friday, leaving a chunk of the 6500 block backyard missing.

Jared Morrill, a UC Santa Barbara student and next-door neighbor, said authorities arrived Friday night to ask the woman living at the house to evacuate, saying they believed the tree could topple the other direction onto her home.

As continuous erosion eats away at Isla Vista’s bluffs at a rate of several inches or more a year, demolition of cliff-side backyards and even some houses has taken place in recent weeks.

One of Morrill’s roommates, Joseph Gray, said their backyard has been in the process of being scaled back since a chunk dropped off not long ago.

Last month, an I.V. landlord decided to demolish four of his Del Playa Drive units after a chunk of the cliffs fell away and took part of the 6600-block backyard and balcony with it.

Noozhawk staff writer Sam Goldman can be reached at sgoldman@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

(Peter Bloch / Noozhawk video)