~  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):  149 days, 221.75 hours
June 1st, 2007:
Received a phone call yesterday from Richard Lindley, Park Operations Manager (South County), regarding the Model Pier Demonstration ProjectHe expressed interest and requested a meeting with the officers of United Pier and Shore Anglers of California regarding plans for conversion of the mid-pier bathroom structure.

Still trying to get information on the possible stabbing on the pier Sunday night ... the head ranger will stop by the sheriffs office today to inquire. No reports of the incident in the local papers or blogs nor did it appear in any of the 'crime blotters'. 

I suspect that since they did not find the victim or anyone who saw the incident no report was ever filed.

June 4th, 2007:
Yesterday afternoon we noticed this dog which at first we thought was unusually tethered.  After hearing it begin to whine we checked further and noticed that it was actually hanging from it's tether. Apparently it had originally been tethered inside the camper shell and jumped out through the opened window.

Since the dog was in some pain and unapproachable the police were called. A sheriff's deputy responded and was able to locate the owner and his cell phone number and within a few minutes the dog was rescued from it's predicament.

The morning I was encouraged by how clean the first two fishing ells were following the weekend. The halibut have begun to show in numbers and there were more anglers than usual but the word has apparently gotten out and it was clear that an effort had been made to pick up after themselves.

No so at the other end of the pier where the overnight shark fisherman had been feeding the birds chili-dipped pistachio nuts. The resulting guano was excessive and streaked with what appeared to be blood ... spent almost an hour cleaning it off the railings, benches and deck.

This was the same problem we had last year ... hopefully the park will step up enforcement of it's number one environmental priority.   At a minimum additional signage is needed at this end of the pier reminding people not to feed the birds. 

A few walk-throughs by the local rangers  wouldn't hurt either since the park's official policy is "to discourage the feeding of wildlife and explain why".

June 5th, 2007: 
Paul Weakliem of Santa Barbara's Paradise Dive Club has confirmed that theirPhoto courtesy of: California Coastal Records Project . Copyright  2002 Kenneth Adelman.  All rights reserved. group will visit Goleta Pier on Saturday, June 23rd, to dive the kelp reef on the west side of the pier and retrieve lost and snagged fishing gear ... hooks, lines and sinkers!

This project has been a goal of mine since I first created the Reef Page in June 2003. That page displays statistics and other data from a whole year's worth of fishing logs documenting the 535 fish (525 released) from 45 different species caught in 114 trips. 

The kelp reef has built up around a rock revetment supporting a mile long sewage outfall pipe which has been the center of some controversy over the supposed quality of the effluent discharged. The Goleta Sanitary District's studies as well as my own charted observations from June 2002 - May 2003 showed the reef to be a healthy and productive structure not suffering from any obvious effects of pollution at that time.

Since then the County has dumped tons of sand and material dredged from the slough into the bay in an attempt to stabilize the shoreline and replace sand lost from winter storms. Anglers immediately noticed a decline in the numbers of fish caught from the reef as well as a decline in the actual species count.

We were told by several divers that the bottom was covered in sludge which would account for both the reduction in fish and in the kelp cover as well. Rockfish, the primary species in the reef, require access to rocky cover which had disappeared under the sludge. 

Kelp also requires access to rocks in order for the plant's root structure, called the holdfast, to do just that. It's only in the last year that the kelp has returned to it's former lushness and the rockfish are also beginning to come back.

Depending on water clarity the club will try to provide underwater photos and video of the reef environment. At noon the Goleta Pier regulars will host a tri-tip BBQ to show appreciation for their efforts.

June 8th, 2007: 
This afternoon Ken Jones, President of United Shore and Pier Anglers of California (UPSAC) and and James Liu, Secretary-Treasurer met with Dan Hernandez, Director of Santa Barbara County Parks and Richard Lindley, Park Operations Manager (South County). 

Ken, James and myself gave a brief overview of  UPSAC's Model Pier Demonstration Project  followed by a discussion of the possible uses of the building currently housing the mid-pier bathrooms.  Both Mr. Hernandez and Mr. Lindley indicated strong support for the project and requested that UPSAC make a further presentation to the County Park Commission in order to obtain final approval. 

June 9th, 2007:

Saturday was the first of several UPSAC educational outreach events at Goleta Pier funded by a grant from the Channel Islands Marine Sanctuary Foundation


We get mail (forwarded from Ken Jones 6/11/2007):

Kathy M Patmore, DDS <drpatmore@mac.com> wrote:

Hello Ken,

I just wanted to express our gratitude to all you fabulous men for your help teaching our scouts to "catch and release" last Saturday at Goleta Pier.

Donating your time and all the books on identification of fish, education about conservation and wildlife protection, all the gear and bait, and not least of all lunch!

What a role model you men are not only for your skillfulness, but also your generosity with your time and resources, to help boys learn that manliness is found in helping boys learn to be men.

I can't thank you enough!


Kathy Mora (Fritz' mom) 
and den leader to 
Webelos 1 
Pack 109

On a personal note I was pleased to see two of the Goleta Pier regulars, Martín C. (pictured) and Roy Q., volunteer to help out with the students as well. 

June 11th, 2007:  Found this childlike plaything attached to one of the benches at the end of the pier this morning. It was clear that the intent was to entice a seagull or pelican into swallowing the mackerel head for no reason other than just plain selfish amusement at the bird's expense.

What type of person would enjoy the ensuing struggle as the bird frantically tries to disgorge the bait? This and other examples of rampant disrespect for wildlife in the park reflects poorly on past management practices. 

Hopefully the Management Recommendations for Goleta Beach County Park, released this past November, will be a spur to the County to begin implementing proper oversight in these matters. 

A good model for the County to look into would be the work that Betsy Cramer, of The Pelican Project, is doing at Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara. 

Special treat:  Underwater video of the piling community at Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara ... narrated by UCSB's Milton Love infamous for his light-hearted but extremely informative website, the Love Lab.

June 13th, 2007: 

It was a bit gloomy this morning, both in forecast and mood ... until I came across this trio of friends and fishing partners who had ridden their mobility scooters to the pier over the Fairview Bridge from Encino Royale on the other side of the freeway. 

How nice it was to be able to welcome them to a clean pier and newly refinished benches ... 

June 17th, 2007:

Goleta Bay has a special visitor this weekend ... the Vaquero II which was the last Pacific Coast cattle ferry. For over 100 years she and her predecessor Vaquero I transported beef cows back and forth between Gaviota and other west coast piers to Santa Rosa Island for the Vail and Vickers Company. 

For those wondering what had happened to her a Google search this morning provided the following communication:

"You folks in Santa Barbara ever wonder what happened to the Vaquero II ... ?  She's down on Banderas Bay doing charters, a big bar having been set up where the cattle probably used to munch on hay during the channel crossings. When we asked the Vaquero why she moved out of Santa Barbara, she said, "I'm a little older now so my planks ache when it gets cold, and it just doesn't get cold down here on the Vallarta coast like it does along the foggy California coast. After all, it's early March and it's pouring rain in Santa Barbara - I just don't need that any more. Plus, the smell of the cattle was getting to me. Just tell all my friends back in Santa Barbara Harbor that I'm enjoying a happy semi-retirement - like a lot of other Americans - on the warm waters of Banderas Bay." 'Lectronic LatitiudeMarch 6, 2006
Good to see her return to her former home waters ... hope she enjoys her visit. Rumors off the pier this morning were of a large cache of rum taken aboard last night for the weekend's partying.

June 19th, 2007: 

"Above [left] is a picture of the pier at it's worst back in July after months of neglect. The picture was submitted to the message board at pierfishing.com in a thread on 'How to kill a pier' where it was downloaded and sent by a concerned citizen to the County Parks Department. All graffiti was removed within several weeks and the benches were cleaned and restained. Most of the damage due to vandalism has been repaired as well. It was after being told that it would be just a matter of time before everything would revert to its former state that I decided to see how long I could forestall the supposed inevitable decline." Pierhead's Goleta Pier Log, 1-8-07.

Since last July I have put in 375 volunteer hours over 244 days in an effort to keep the pier open and presentable to the public. Until recently it seemed to be working.  The gulls and other birds were no longer roosting on the pier overnight and the amount of deposited guano was down to a minimum. Efforts to keep the pier free of discarded fishing line and hooks were beginning to show progress as well.

Recently though there has been a resurgence of the same behaviors that caused so much alarm last year. In May there was an apparent stabbing near the mid-pier bathrooms. Last week one UPSAC fishing line recycling basket was vandalized and the other one at the end of the pier is being used as a trash container. The railings, especially near the foot of the pier, are increasingly being carved up and there is a noticeable increase in the  amount of graffiti.

This morning was a final straw of sorts for me ... the last hundred yards of the pier was as littered as it has ever been and I decided to just leave it for the community to see. 

The bottom line is that most of the litter and vandalism are the direct result of unregulated drinking on the pier at night. Unlike Stearns Wharf there is no effort on the part of the County or the local police department to regularly patrol the area.  Once again I am receiving complaints from people who don't feel safe being on the pier after dark. 

This problem has to be addressed as the public safety issue it is.  The pier is only fifteen to twenty feet wide ... there is no way to avoid trouble once it starts unlike more open areas. 

It is time to ban alcohol from Goleta Pier once and for all. The pier is a community resource and no one group has a right to dominate it to the exclusion of others. 

June 23rd, 2007:

Finally the long awaited day ... here is Santa Barbara's Paradise Dive Club in full array participating in our local Clean the Reef project. 

Plans for this event were initiated back in April  when Jennifer Renzullo of UC Davis's SeaDoc Society brought a group of divers together to clean the pilings under the pier as part of the California Lost Fishing Gear Recovery Project. Several of the divers were from the local Club and I asked them if they would be interested in coming back to do the reef. I was gratified that they agreed.

The dive officially started at 10am with an initial 11 divers including several manning kayaks as support boats. Within two hours they had worked the reef from one end to the other and returned with a large amount of fishing line, hooks, sinkers, beer cans and ... 120 golf balls! 

Following the dive the crew sat down to a well deserved tri-tip lunch  hosted by myself and Fred Ledesma, a long-standing Goleta pier regular and BBQ chef extraordinaire. 

Kudos to them all and we are looking forward to having them back perhaps on an annual basis. 

June 29th, 2007:

For the past couple of days I've noticed a series of orange numbers recently sprayed on the pavement in both the east and west parking lots. Entering the park at 6am this morning I was greeted by several large seismic testing vehicles from Trace Energy Systems bracketed by a pair of CHP patrol vehicles making their way from one orange dot to the next. 

At each location the trucks deployed a device that shook the ground for a minute or so while they were obtaining readings. I asked and was told that Trace had been "... hired by the Gas Company to map the area adjacent to the Slough because one of the wells was losing pressure." 

Presumably this was a reference to underground natural gas storage facilities located between the Slough and the Airport. It can be inferred that Trace was checking for leaks of natural gas. 

This area was cause for some concern earlier in the month when a local blogger reported what appeared to be a massive fish kill of topsmelt in Goleta Slough.  At the time it was thought to be related to the documented low levels of dissolved oxygen in water attributed to "... excessive nutrient pollution (nitrogen and phosphorus largely from urban and agricultural runoff containing fertilizers) cause large algae blooms every year in Goleta Slough creeks."

I wonder if there is a connection? A bit of Google research turned up this interesting article entitled 'Gas impact on fish and other marine organisms'

The description of how fish react to gas emissions is very similar to the observed behavior of the Slough smelt before they died which was described as a 'boiling' of the water : 

"External evidence of these disturbances includes a number of common symptoms mainly of behavioral nature (e.g., fish excitement, increased activity, scattering in the water). The interval between the moment of fish contact with the gas and the first symptoms of poisoning (latent period) is relatively short."

Is the Slough tested for methane levels as well as oxygen content?

Update: Gas Company looks deep for storage , (Goleta Valley Voice 7/6/07)

June 30th, 2007:

Santa Barbara County Codes, section 26-82. 

No person shall dive from the Goleta Beach Pier or swim, surf or jet ski within one hundred feet of the Goleta Beach Pier. (Ord. No. 3708, § 1)

Pictured are two young men being escorted by local deputies following their drunken escapade on the pier this morning.  They were first noticed around 6:30am staggering out to the end carrying an almost empty case of beer (4 cans left) and a half gallon of vodka three quarters empty.

After setting the remaining cans and bottle on the railing they began a loud and boisterous conversation the chief refrain of which went, "What began in Isla Vista ends here at the pier." 

Not sure of their intent they were spoken to and reminded that they were on a family pier and not in a local bar and asked to put the alcohol away. Initially they were cooperative although somewhat argumentative but they later returned to the pier and, after being warned, went ahead and jumped off the end.

Since they were heavily intoxicated there was concern for their safety and the police were called. The responding officers waited for the pair to reach shore and then took them into custody. 

Questions or comments? ... email  Pierhead

Copyright © 2007 by Boyd Grant.  All Rights Reserved