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~  Pierheads's ~
Goleta Pier Log

PFIC Get-Together, Goleta Pier,  July 2003.  Photo credit:  Rich Reano, webmaster,
Volunteer Time:
2006 (total):  103 days, 169 hours
2007 (total):  238 days, 425.75 hours
2008 (total):   50 days,  73.00 hours

March 2nd, 2008:
The ground squirrels along the Slough, which emerged from their winter hibernation last month, are appearing in larger numbers above ground recently to take advantage of the better weather and to begin their breeding season.

The local species, Otospermophilus beecheyiis, is named after British sea captain Frederick Beechey who explored Northern California in the ship Blossom during a two year voyage from 1826-28. 

The average litter consists of seven to eight young born after a 28 day gestation. The young first emerge from the burrow around six weeks old and resemble full-grown adults 6 months later. Ground squirrels enter true hibernation - a coma like state - late in the Fall and remain underground until early Spring.

March 5th,  2008: 

Arrived at the East Lot yesterday morning to find it barricaded off and officials looking for the owner of the blue van pictured above.  The van has been parked in the lot 24/7 for the past two years ... it was part of the group of overnighters that were given courtesy citations in January of 2006.  All were subsequently enrolled in the County's Safe Parking program and relocated with the above exception.

Turns out the County was hosting a Disaster Drill and the van was interfering with a planned helicopter landing. After consulting with the local sheriffs it was decided to leave the unoccupied van in the lot rather than tow it off.  The van was shrouded with a tarp to prevent damage from rotor-wash. 

The training exercise addressed the very real possibility of a downed aircraft in the bay.  The initial objective, according to a Fire Department Information Officer, on 
the pier, was to drop a pair of self-inflating life rafts to the survivors within ten minutes of the accident in order to get people immediately out of the water.  Larger rescue vessels from the Coastguard and Santa Barbara harbor would be expected to arrive on the scene within thirty minutes. 

The 'survivors' in the morning's exercise were an atypical group of airline passengers - they seemed to be mostly female and under the age of twenty-one [grin]. 

The group descended the catwalk under the hoist and loaded onto three large rafts.  They were then towed to the target area and transferred to the smaller survival units awaiting pickup by personal watercraft. Some were taken to shore by the watercraft and others (presumably trained firecrew) were airlifted to offshore vessels. 

The exercise was conducted very professionally and resulted in minimum inference with other activities on the pier and in the park. The presence of the Information Officer was a very helpful addition.

March 7th,  2008: 

I found some recent vandalism out on the pier this morning and followed the YouTube link (click on picture) to this video of the 'vandal' in action ... 

Sec. 26-35: No person shall post, place or erect any paper, notice, advertising material, sign or similar structure or publication within any county recreation area without the specific consent of the county director of parks, or deputy. (Ord. No. 3708, § 1). I think it is safe to assume that the defiant young man pictured above neither sought nor obtained the required approval.

It seems like Goleta Beach, especially the Pier, is becoming a favorite venue for home-made videos posted to the net. Here is a link to one featuring several young men jumping off the pier. As this last video says, "Why not?".  Indeed, why not when there is little or no enforcement of the existing ordinances.

March 10th,  2008: 
While cleaning the pier this morning I was told of a bird out on the end that was in distress due to carelessly discarded fishing line.

When I got there I found a seagull wrapped in monofilament with two hooks in its throat and another in its wing. A fourth hook on the line had snagged on the pier decking. 

The gull had become trapped sometime overnight and was in a weakened and exhausted condition.

The Wildlife Care Network was notified and the bird was placed in a transport box but unfortunately it died before being picked up. 

March 11th,  2008:

Yesterday afternoon the East parking lot was invaded by a caravan of horse trailers and support vehicles for what turned out to be "undisclosed equestrian magazine photo shoot staged at Goleta Beach" according to an article in this morning's Edhat.

While photographing the horses yesterday I overheard one man with a video camera call for 'more models'.  Thinking it might be a commercial venture which requires a permit* I tried to obtain more details but found the group reluctant to discuss the nature of their activity. 

I did speak with several young women ('models') who told me they were hired to ride and pose with horses provided by El Capitan Ranch.  I noted that the horse handlers were wearing El Capitan Ranch T-shirts. 

This morning I called the County's Film Permit Office and spoke with Philip Oates who said that there was no permit on file for yesterday's activities. Mr. Oates indicated he would be following up on the apparent failure to file for a permit in order to recover the fees owed to the County.

You would think the County would be monitoring activities in their Parks a bit more closely so as to not lose any potential sources of revenue ... especially now that the Board of Supervisors has acknowledged a financial crisis within the County Parks system.

Mr. Oates also indicated that he was concerned with more than just the lost fees ... he said the County has an obligation to make sure that such activities carry liability insurance and are planned to reduce their impacts on other park visitors including trash pickup and removal.

*Section 14C-5 of the Santa Barbara County Code requires a permit for commercial still photography on public or private property in unincorporated areas of the County or on property controlled by the County within incorporated areas.

Section 14C-13 of the County Code requires a certificate of insurance providing general liability coverage of $1,000,000 and naming the County of Santa Barbara as additional insured as a condition for issuing a permit.

Section 14C-6 (f) of the County Code provides an exemption for low-impact photography. The exemption usually is granted for stock and similar photography that doesn’t involve models, props, or crews, but the exemption must be requested in writing from the County Film Permit Officer. 

Photography in Santa Barbara County parks that does not qualify for a permit exemption under Section 14C-6 (f) of the County Code requires a permit review fee and a use fee. Fees for use of parks, buildings, and grounds other than the County Courthouse range from $30 to $450 per day. Fees for use of the County Courthouse range from $30 to $1,000.

Update (3-12-08):  On the 10th I notified the local Park Rangers of my concern and they contacted the group. Today a ranger told me that a spokesman for the group claimed that they were only doing non-commercial photography for their website. 
March 12th,  2008:
It's that time of the year again ... elephant seal pups washed out of their offshore island rookeries will haul out to rest and recuperate on local beaches as this one did this morning.

The Friends of the Elephant Seal website has this to say: "People often think that seals on the beach are dead because they are not moving or breathing. They will often stop breathing and dramatically lower their heart rate – as they do routinely at sea – for periods of a few minutes to half an hour. That apnea and their general inactivity are ways of conserving energy. During the time they are on shore, which occurs only in the rookery, they are fasting and relying on their stored fat to meet their water and energy needs."

Because this was just a pup and not ready to live on its own the Santa Barbara Marine Mammal Center (805 687-3255) was called for assistance.

A little while later Peter Howorth from the Center arrived with his van and transport cage.  Peter first distracted the pup by brushing sand off of its back and reassuring it. When the pup relaxed it was picked up by the scruff of its neck and put into the cage for transport to the Center for observation and possible relocation.

March 24th,  2008: 

Noticed this truck and horse trailer racing through the parking lot this morning coming to a halt near the east end. Shortly afterwards a golden retriever exited the cab making a beeline for the beach followed by the owner sans leash.

As the dog was sniffing for a likely spot to do his/her duty I reminded the owner that this was not an offleash park and the dog, now chasing seabirds, needed to be restrained. 

Whew - that was a mistake!  The owner, apparently a long-distance animal hauler, seemed a tad bit overstressed and was just not up to a verbal reminder of her responsibilities. After a profanity and obscenity laced response she dismissed my request since I wasn't anybody in uniform (or words to that effect).

Being the accommodating individual that I am I offered to provide her with a uniformed response ... shortly afterwards she was joined on the beach by a county Animal Services officer who officially reminded her of her responsibilities ... this time in writing.


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