~  Pierheads's ~
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):   49 days,  70.10 hours
February 1st, 2007:  Whatever happened to the 'Pause that Refreshes'? 

Getting propane this morning I noticed this sign at the entrance to the service station. Speaking with the middle-eastern proprietor I learned that now there are over 30 such energy drinks. He was appalled that his distributor is encouraging him to carry even more brands. 

I have to agree.  From whence came this new energy crisis?  Did we suddenly discover that the day was actually shorter than the  previously allotted 24 hours and so we needed to speed up the pace of our activities in order to accomplish all that had to be done?

Or is it that we have taken on so many responsibilities and obligations that there is little time left for ourselves anymore. The use of these energy drinks seems to be associated more with after hours or recreational activity than with just getting through the normal workday ... 

'Slow down, you move too fast, 
you've got to make the morning last
Just kickin' down the cobble-stones, 
lookin' for fun and feelin' groovy ...

I've got no deeds to do, no promises to keep
I'm dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep
Let the morning time drop all its petals on me

Simon and Garfunkel - Feeling Groovy 
(59th St. Bridge Song)
February 2nd, 2007:  Watched a woman on Wednesday feeding the seagulls in the east parking lot near the pier. After she had gone through a full loaf of sliced bread she noticed she was beginning to attract an audience.  Encouraged by the attention she returned to her car and retrieved three more loaves.  She had the smug look of someone who just knew that her efforts to 'take care of wildlife' had not gone unnoticed.

Pier showed the effects of her 'generosity' this morning ... all of the end benches were covered in more than the usual amount of wet and runny gull poop. 

But what can you do to discourage people from feeding the birds?  I have noticed that talking with them rarely does any good since they see themselves as either on a noble mission or just indulging in a bit of harmless fun.  They will persist even after they have been spoken to ... opening up their car door and dropping the feed secretively behind it. So it is not a question of ignorance of the law. 

February 3rd, 2007:  Increased enforcement of existing laws is not likely as a 
solution either. At least not until there is a change in our permissive attitude towards human interaction with wildlife.  Petting zoos and aquaria encourage people to get closer to nature as if physical proximity were the sole goal. And feeding birds at public parks and waterfronts has always been considered an acceptable pastime. 

So it's difficult for those in enforcement to write a citation for behavior they don't personally object to ... it's not going to be a high priority concern. Nor for the judges either who don't see any criminal intent.

I guess the only hope is in increasing the next generation's ecological awareness . But first we have to somehow acquire the humility to acknowledge that we are just another link in the food chain and not the reason for evolution itself. We may be the dominant species for the moment but that doesn't confer any rights ... just one heck of a responsibility not to be the proverbial bull in a china shop. 

February 5th, 2007:  Spent the afternoon yesterday out on the pier with friends. Several benches away were two guys and a young women. One of the guys decked a small 36" shovelnose guitarfish after a manly display of pump and reel worthy of the best chair-strapped charter boat angler. 

Posing proudly for pictures he couldn't resist grabbing the fish by the tail and swinging it around his head several times before letting it fly out in a high arc ending in a loud slap on the water. Raising fisted arms over his head in a victory proclamation he looked around for approval. 

I hope he noticed how uncomfortable the rest of us were. 

February 6th, 2007:  Received an email from Betsy Cramer at www.pelicanlife.org advising that a gull with a hook in its beak and attached line was spotted at Goleta.  I told her I would keep an eye out for it and saw it this morning in the east parking lot.  Called June Taylor at the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network (967-1028) who advised waiting for the bird to weaken before trying to net it.  The hook does not appear to be impacting the bird as it is in the upper bill only but there is about three feet of attached monofilament.

The head ranger brought me a community service calendar indicating a group would be doing underwater cleaning of various piers in the state. Goleta is scheduled for Sunday and Monday (April 15th and 16th). He thought it was a funded activity.

February 9th, 2007:  Gull with hook in its beak spotted on pier by one of the regulars. Initial attempt to restrain bird and remove hook frustrated by lack of a net. 

February 13th, 2007:   This carving appeared on the last bench at the end several days ago ...  this is one of several benches that have been tagged two or more times since early December and have not been cleaned up. Leaving graffiti only encourages more. And failure to report new graffiti leaves the community without an true understanding as to the extent of the problem. I really don't want to go back to cleaning it up myself nor should I have to ... the county has acknowledged it is their responsibility

Graffiti and other vandalism is supposed to be noted on the daily walk through and subsequently addressed. 

Still it seems that, unless there are complaints as well, nothing gets done. For example, the other day I was told of some slanderous and sexually  oriented graffiti in the rest room at the foot of the pier. Apparently it had been in place for some time without being cleaned up. It was brought to my attention because the individual named was too embarrassed to discuss it with park staff. I passed it on and the graffiti was removed the same day. 

February 14th, 2007:  Happy  Valentine's Day!  I got a special present from the pigeons and seagulls today ... 100% guano free benches! I am crossing my fingers and hoping that the various mitigation measures recently put in place by the restaurant will continue to be as successful as they currently seem to be. 

This is the infamous eucalyptus tree ... former roost of a large colony of cormorants notorious for their prodigious output of guano.  Since it is adjacent to the restaurant signs were posted to keep people from parking under it. 

Finally the restaurant installed a sonic deterrent device and the birds apparently began to roost elsewhere. This same device seems to have reduced the number of gulls and pigeons roosting on the pier as well.

February 16th, 2007:   On another page I described this log as 'a place where I can share some of the observations that come to me' while I am cleaning up the pier. Most of those thoughts are pier related but sometimes I find myself looking beyond this pier and this community: Universal Soldier

February 19th, 2007:  Rained last night ... pier looks hosed down. But the benches have about twice as much guano as yesterday. Found dumpster open again ... suspect it is being left open while the kitchen trucks out additional garbage. Simple solution is to close the lid until the additional garbage is ready to be deposited

The above picture was taken February 2 but still it indicates the powerful draw an overflowing dumpster has for the resident gull population. 

Much of the refuse is left over food and the bones and wrappings end up on the pier.

February 21st, 2007:

Mike Spence (aka Santa) from United Pier and Shore Anglers of California (UPSAC) and myself installed two of the 40 fishing line recycle bins he built to be placed on piers around California.  Funding for the project was provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  A fish line manufacturing company (Berkely) sponsors a recycling program and provides postage paid UPS mailers to return the line. I have volunteered to maintain the bins and ship the excess line back to Berkely.

Now that the pigeon nesting season is almost upon us it is very important that no line be left on the deck as the birds will incorporate the line into their nests with disastrous results.  Mike has a bird nest made entirely of line containing the skeleton of a young nestling whose leg got fatally entangled. 

Also installed today was a bench that had been removed earlier because it had been located directly in front of the fish cleaning station (faucet area in picture). 

At the time I felt that it was a mistake to remove it entirely rather than just relocate it.  I'm glad to see the bench returned to the pier. And the new location makes better use of the space in the  fishing ell.

While doing the installs today I wandered over to the Ranger's compound looking for a piece of pressure treated lumber.  Not only did I find what I needed but I also discovered a treasure trove of odds and ends such as extra garbage cans and fancy recycling bins that will come in handy when upgrading the fixtures on the pier.

February 27th, 2007:

The LA Times article today indicated that the tagger's identity is known and he would be cited for his activity.  Initially the mayor wanted to stop the bus and have the individual apprehended but it was decided not to "create a traffic hazard at a busy intersection".

Why not?  What an interesting confrontation that would have been. But it's still not too late for the the mayor to arrange taped interviews with the young man, his parents and his teachers. It seems to me that the larger community has some questions that they would like those individuals to answer. 

February 28th, 2007Ending the month on a positive note even though I found the
dumpster lids folded back again this morning. Spoke with an employee of the restaurant on his way to work about the problem with the birds feeding off the restaurant's trash. He was very understanding and shortly the lids to the dumpsters were properly closed and the birds dispersed.

The good news is in the overall reduction in bird guano on the pier. Prior to the restaurant's mitigation measures beginning in late January guano removal averaged 27 hours per month ... in February it was down to 15.60 hours.

Several other factors contributed to this reduction as well among them the increase in natural predation by resident hawks and falcons patrolling the pier which reduced incidents of roosting and subsequent guano deposition.  Additionally the seasonal reduction in baitfish means fewer fish discarded on the pier decking by irresponsible anglers. Without this unnaturally overabundant source the birds  revert to more natural feeding behavior away from the pier. 

The daily external cleaning of the trash recepticles has encouraged their use and therefore more trash is being deposited instead of being left on the ground.  The trash cans in the east parking lot are being monitored and emptied before they reach the overflow state thus reducing the amount of trash available for the racoons. 

Things are definitely improving!

Questions or comments? ... email  Pierhead

Copyright © 2007 by Boyd Grant.  All Rights Reserved