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Goleta Pier Log

PFIC Get-Together, Goleta Pier,  July 2003.  Photo credit:  Rich Reano, webmaster,  www.pierfishing.com
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Volunteer Time:
2006 (total):    103 days, 169 hours
2007 (to date):  100 days, 135.50 hours

April 1st, 2007:

Walking back to my RV after cleaning the pier yesterday morning I was hailed by a man waving his arms frantically and pointing towards the beach.  Walking over I noticed this pup ... see the fishing line wrapped around it's head and front flippers?  The rear quarters appeared to be immobilized and the pup looked emaciated.

I called the Santa Barbara Marine Mammal Center (805) 687-3255) as this obviously was not just a simple case of a weaned pup hauled out while it's mother was fishing. Shortly several Center volunteers showed up with a transport cage and took the animal to their shelter where it's injuries will be attended to.

While waiting for the volunteers I retrieved my camera and took this picture with the telephoto lens. 

April 4th, 2007:

New graffiti overnight ... already crossed out by people from the Eastside(E), Westside(W) and Dos Pueblos(D) gangs.  Members from at least three different warring gangs on the pier last night - kinda scary when you think about it. Bathrooms at foot of pier also tagged and the pier covered in trash. 

Some good news? ... "Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown is working on one of his campaign promises. It involves the creation of a larger and tougher gang enforcement unit. And it seems the recent violence locally is forcing the Sheriff to quickly put his plan into action. KEY News reporter Michelle Cole has the story."

April 10th, 2007:

As reported earlier the California Lost Fishing Gear Recovery Project will be at the Pier April 16th and 17th to do a general underwater cleanup, removing fishing lines and hooks wrapped around the pilings. The advance publicity indicates that there will be a 'media event' associated with their visit.

Before they arrive I wanted to acknowledge someone who has been quietly doing the the same on his own since he retired several years ago. Fred Ledesma is a Goleta Pier regular noted for his excellent perch fishing skills. 

Since the fish he targets are found mostly down around the pilings Fred is in a good position to notice the amount of tackle hanging from the underside of the pier. He has developed a unique 'tool' to help assist him in the recoveries ... a snag line of his own with a sliding weight which drops down to the point of attachment and breaks the snagged gear free.

Because we rarely see the amount of gear cleaned up in this manner it is important that we acknowledge the contributions of locals like Fred and others to the general welfare of the pier. The 'collection' pictured above was put together in less than 30 minutes this morning. 

April 17th, 2007:  Despite the more than adequate advance publicity and last minute phone 

calls I am ashamed to say there was zero media coverage of the work done yesterday and today by the California Lost Fishing Gear Recovery Project at Goleta Pier. 

Jennifer Renzullo of UC Davis's SeaDoc Society, assisted by Jessica Alstatt and Penny Owens from the Santa Barbara Channelkeeper along with volunteer divers from NOAA and the local Paradise Dive Club, worked for hours in the water underneath the pier removing years of accumulated fishing tackle and monofilament lines. The additional  divers were Paul Weakliem, Claire Sacker, Carl Gwinn, Ben Waltenberger and Kate Peet.

Although Goleta has been well cared for by Fred LedesmaJennifer (in her kayak), and her crew of divers were able to access areas even Fred couldn't reach bringing up wads of monofilament, rope, pier gaffs, netting and other underwater hazards. 

To help round out their display of retrieved items Fred showed up early with the bed of his pickup filled with boxes and boxes of hooks, lures, lead weights and other items he has collected from his daily rounds since his retirement two and a half years ago ... incredible the amount of fishing related material that accumulates on and under a pier. 

"Fishing line related injuries are a problem for many of our coastal wildlife species," said Kirsten Gilardi, executive director of the SeaDoc Society, a program of the UC Davis Wildlife Health Center. "Our goal is to remove as much of it as we can from around fishing piers, and then make it easy for anglers to dispose of their used hooks and line properly in the future."  To that end the crew installed two of their own fishing line recycling bins ... inexpensive PVC pipe containers and associated signage. 

With the two bins installed by United Pier and Shore Anglers of California (UPSAC) in February Goleta pier now has complete coverage from one end to the other ... possibly more bins than any other California pier at this time.

April 22nd, 2007:    Friday's Daily Sound had a front page article entitled Group helps clean up pier.  In the article which was about the recent activities at Goleta Pier staff writer Colby Frazier quotes Santa Barbara Wharf Facilities Supervisor Bob Zimmer as saying that Stearns Wharf is scoured for about two hours each day by different crews gathering fishing debris. In addition divers checking the wharf's pilings weekly for structural integrity and other problems also keep an eye out for fishing line. Says Zimmer, "We've made an effort to really clean it up ... It's all to help the animal life here not to get tangled up in it."

What I would like to see is for the County to make a similar commitment to Goleta Pier. Currently responsibilities for the pier's maintenance and safety rest with just two assigned rangers and a part-time weekend employee. As I understand it the two rangers are responsible for four other parks in addition to Goleta.

If the very limited areas on Stearns Wharf open to fishing require two hours per day then certainly Goleta with its 1450 feet of unrestricted access should be budgeted at least a similar amount. 

The article goes on to underscore the necessity of educating the fishing public and credits Frank Drew, owner of Stearns Wharf Bait & Tackle shop, with performing that service for the Wharf. 

Unfortunately Goleta Pier no longer has it's own bait and tackle shop so there is no permanent daily presence there to remind anglers of their impacts. Nor does our pier have it's own security force to patrol at night as does the Wharf.

What it does have though ...

... is a wooden structure housing a pair of 500 gallon fiberglass sewage holding tanks outfitted with porta-potty type seats ... an ecological disaster waiting to happen. These tanks require weekly servicing by Marborg Disposal which drives an oversized tank truck out on the pier to pump them out. 

Recently the concrete holding tanks at El Capitan State Park were ordered closed by  the California Coastal Commission for fear of leakage though they were hundreds of yards removed from the water and not suspended directly over it as is the case as Goleta. 

Anticipating the eventual closure of our bathrooms and envisioning other possible uses I did a bit of research to see how many piers in California actually had bathrooms. I contacted Ken Jones, president of United Pier and Shore Anglers of Californiaand the acknowledged expert on California Piers.

Ken emailed me with this list: 

From the above I concluded that of the 28 public piers in California over 1000' in length Goleta is the only non-commercial pier that provides public restrooms both on the pier itself as well as at it's foot. 

The vast majority (10 out of 12) of the non-commercial piers have bathrooms only at the foot of the pier.  Indeed, several of the piers that cater to tourists do not have public restrooms  at all.  As far as can be determined Goleta is the only public pier in California with unplumbed restrooms. 

So the question is does the County really need to incur the additional expense of running sewage pipes out on the pier in order to plumb the existing bathrooms? I've been told by Park Staff that such a run would probably require additional pumping capacity as well. 

If not - is there a better non-commercial use  for the existing structure? 

April 30th, 2007: 

Watched a couple of young men park and feed the pigeons while they were eating takeout from McD's. Suddenly the passenger lept out screaming and gesticulating wildly in an apparent effort to frighten the accumulated flock. 

More leftover food was put out and the flock settled down again. Now it was the driver's turn ... leaning out the window with a hideous grimace he emited a shriek heard from one end of the lot to the other. Again the birds took flight and again more food was put out.

This time however they backed the car up and let the birds settle down in front of them. A quick tap on the horn to get the flock airborn and then, putting pedal to metal, they hurtled forward into the scattering birds. Fortunately for them no birds were hit.

And of course they left their garbage behind.

Questions or comments? ... email  Pierhead

Copyright © 2007 by Boyd Grant.  All Rights Reserved