Goleta Beach

  • Goal: Protect Both Goleta Beach and Goleta Beach Park
  • Year Started: 2000
  • Client: Surfrider Foundation

In 2000, intense winter storms pulled sand off Goleta Beach leading to erosion of the grassy lawn and a portion of the parking lot at Goleta Beach Park. In response, Santa Barbara County installed an emergency rock revetment – a line of boulders to try to limit damage to the park. Once the winter storms subsided, EDC urged the County to remove the rock seawall at the west end of the beach because such structures merely shift erosion to other beaches further down the coast. Rock seawalls are also very dangerous and limit the public’s ability to safely access the beach. The County listened to EDC and removed the rock seawall. However, two years later the County installed another emergency rock revetment, but this time they did not remove it once the emergency ended.

Due to these concerns, in 2009 the California Coastal Commission directed the County to come up with a plan for Goleta Beach that does not include hard structures such as the rock revetments. EDC and Surfrider Foundation worked hard to encourage the County to develop a plan that would remove the unpermitted seawall at the west end of the park in order to save the sandy beach that thousands of people enjoy every year. We also pointed out that some parking spaces could be relocated out of harm’s way to other areas in the park, the bike path could be moved to higher ground and rebuilt to be wider and safer, and the sewer line could be moved away from the beach to avoid future sewage spills. We supported leaving the rock seawall protecting the restaurant.

The County ultimately opted to take no action, leaving the entire rock seawall in place, and we now await a hearing before the Coastal Commission.

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