~  Pierheads's ~
Goleta Pier Log

PFIC Get-Together, Goleta Pier,  July 2003.  Photo credit:  Rich Reano, webmaster,  www.pierfishing.com

Volunteer Time:
2006 (total):    103 days, 169 hours
2007 (to date):  209 days, 348.75 hours 

September 1st, 2007:  Some of you noticed that I hadn't been on the pier for the past ten days ... I had been staying indoors to avoid the smoke and ash from the Zaca Fire with its early morning backburning the previous couple of weeks but even with that precaution though I still managed to come down with a raging sinus infection. 

But now I'm back and it's time to get caught up. I have some help now in the morning and possibly a permanent backup once the Center opens, Luis Velasquez -
a long time Goleta Pier regular.

After 10 days off the pier needed some extra attention this morning ... glad to have had the help.

A couple of community service opportunities coming up this month:

Posted to Craigslist (Santa Barbara)2007-08-29, 12:06PM PDT

"Join us and volunteer for the Snowy Plover Docent Program! The next volunteer training is on: Saturday, September 8 from 11:30 am - 4:00 pm. 

The Western Snowy Plover is a tiny, threatened shorebird in need of our help. Habitat destruction and increased human recreation on beaches have caused dramatic declines in this population in the past few decades, leading to their protection under the Endangered Species Act. 

The Snowy Plover Docent Program (SPDP) started in August of 2001 to assist the protection of the Snowy Plovers at Coal Oil Point Reserve, and to raise awareness in the community of the importance of the preservation of this species and its habitat. The program recruits, trains, and organizes volunteers to become plover docents. Each docent plays a crucial role in the protection of the plovers by educating beach users about this threatened species and how to use the beach responsibly. Docents provide a personal and friendly contact for beach users. They promote public interest and understanding, and in turn, dramatically increase the effectiveness of other management efforts. 

The SPDP operates at Coal Oil Point Reserve, which lies between Isla Vista and Ellwood shores in Goleta, CA. Our office is located near the beach entrance, across form the Cliff House. The nearest major cross streets are El Colegio and Storke Road. For more information, please call (805) 880-1195."

2007 California Coastal Cleanup Day (9/15/07)

"Coastal Cleanup Day takes place throughout the State of California and is conducted in conjunction with International Coastal Cleanup Day. California's Coastal Cleanup Day Program, organized by the California Coastal Commission and other cooperating organizations throughout the state, encourages people to learn about and actively participate in conserving natural resources. The goals of this event are to raise awareness about the issues of ocean and coastal conservation, to pick up litter, to encourage recycling, and to promote community pride. Coastal Cleanup Day allows people to take responsibility for their local waterways and creates an awareness that individual actions do make a difference. The County Public Works Department, Resource Recovery and Waste Management Division, coordinates this event for Santa Barbara County..

On September 16, 2006, 395 volunteers participated in California Coastal Cleanup Day in Santa Barbara County from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. On that day, volunteers picked up approximately 1,158 pounds of trash and 764 pounds of recyclables from local beaches stretching some 30 miles along our coastline. Cigarette butts remained the most common item found. Various trash items collected included a syringe, numerous lobster traps, a mattress, a vacuum cleaner, and lots of packaging material. 

This year's California Coastal Cleanup Day in Santa Barbara County will occur on September 15, 2007 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. We encourage you to volunteer by serving as a beach captain or by simply showing up at one of the beaches below and helping to collect litter to keep our beaches clean. For more information, please contact the local coordinator, Ms. Jody Rundle, at (805) 882-3602."

September 2nd,  2007:  Across from the restaurant there is an immense eucalyptus tree that had become infamous as a cormorant roost ... so much so that all the adjacent parking spaces were posted with individual signs warning about the consequences of parking underneath.

One thing the signs never mentioned though was the possibility of falling limbs ... last night around 10:30pm the tree chose to divest itself of one of its larger branches. 

Luckily no one was in or near the vehicle at the time.

Here is another example of kayakers crossing under the pier ... this time in plain view of a county employee.

Apparently they were unaware of the sign above their heads forbidding them to do so. 

Nor did they appear to have been warned by the employee either as they continued on to the other side without interruption. 

Since I was speaking with the lifeguard at the time I asked what his instructions were in situations like this. 

He said it was difficult to make contact with violators since he had no bullhorn leaving him with the sole option of trying to catch up to them on his own surfboard which he was reluctant to do.  I will bring the problem to the attention of the County safety officer since it is important that everyone observe the mandatory clearances around the pier.

September 5th,  2007: For a busy holiday weekend the pier stayed remarkably clean ... it's obvious that people are beginning to pick up after themselves. 

Everyone that is with the exception of the person or persons responsible for disassembling these two benches. 

Like little kids getting into daddy's tools for the first time they have yet to learn that what is taken apart has to be put back together again ... 

It's all good though - at least they didn't carve them up or try to set them on fire like last year. And that definitely is an improvement.

September 7th, 2007:  Back after my regular day off and a bit disappointed to discover a that neither of the benches above had been repaired and that the two slats from the bench on the left have now disappeared. Met the head ranger on his 'daily' walk-thru this morning and was surprised to find that he had been unaware of the prior vandalism. 

Perhaps if the missing slats had been replaced and the other benches inspected for loosened nuts last Wednesday when the vandalism first occurred there would not have been this additional damage. 

September 8th, 2007:
One of the regulars, a local teacher, called my attention to a young child fishing alone this morning. Apparently the boy had latched on to the regular and his son for the last three days while they were on the pier.  He said the child was evasive when questioned as to where his parents were. 

Being a concerned parent himself the regular called the sheriffs and deputies subsequently contacted the boy's father who returned to the pier to talk with them and claim his son. After the officers left the child's father, smelling heavily of alcohol, accosted the regular saying he "ought to kick your a** for calling the cops." 

Apparently the officers had revealed the identity of the person making the report to the angry father and then left the pier. The teacher believed he had an obligation, as a 'mandatory reporter' under the Child Abuse and Neglect act, to call this situation to the attention of the authorities.  He was certainly not expecting that it would be handled in such a way as to leave him vulnerable to retaliation. 

Interestingly, it appears that California has no laws specifying the age at which a child can be left alone in a public place.  It is commonly accepted though that the child should not be younger than 12.  This young man was between 7 and 9 years old. Much too young - especially at this pier where people are already drinking by 8am. 

But given that his own father is apparently an early morning drinker as well perhaps it was best his son was out here where there was at least one responsible adult concerned for his welfare. 

Question:  If the teacher noticed that the father had been drinking and was argumentative why weren't the deputies more concerned for both the boy and the teacher's welfare?  Seems to me that they dropped the ball and let them both  down. 

I wouldn't be a bit surprised if the father hasn't already turned on the child for not properly 'covering' for him and for getting him 'in trouble' with the police. 

September 13th, 2007: From today's Santa Barbara Independent

"Well, three weeks from now, the supervisors will hear a proposal to charge parking fees at all county beaches and parks. 

Right now, we enjoy free parking for such amenities. Many of us regard this blessed state of affairs as a divine right and will recoil mightily at any effort to intrude financially upon our sunset walks upon Santa Barbaraís dwindling sands. 

Yes, the City of Santa Barbara joined the ranks of professional extortionists and shake-down artists years ago by charging the public for beach parking, and no, the world did not end. But thatís only because the county provided the same amenities nearby for free."

The Angry Poodle (Nick Welsh)
It is very important that the County hear from the local community on this issue. Parking fees at Goleta Beach would definitely have a negative impact in my opinion and would severely limit the range of educational programs that UPSAC has planned for the pier and slough as well.

Not to mention the effect it would have on those who currently volunteer their time at Goleta ...

Please take the time to express your views in the poll at the bottom of the page.

September 14th, 2007:(revised and clarified 9/17/07):  Goleta Pier was visited by a large number of apparently competitive swimmers today ... it seemed like there were over 40 people in the water. Many of them were numbered or had other designs done in waterproof markers.

We first noticed them swimming across the bay from Campus Point.  The lead swimmer was one of the strongest swimmers I have ever seen.

They rounded the pier so closely that several anglers pulled their lines from the water.

They proceeded down past the hoist where they were being yelled at by a small group of young people there. 

I had been told that the group was throwing cans of something at the swimmers. 

Fearing the worst I went down to investigate and head off further trouble. The group was clustered behind the hoist with a 6-pack. 

They said the people in the water were the UCSB swim team and they were cheering on their friends.

I pointed out the sign that prohibited swimming next to the pier and asked them to give that information to their friends on the swim team. They seemed a bit argumentative so I left the area. 

As I was walking away I heard a splash and noticed a young woman climbing back up the ladder next to the posted ordinances. 

I've included these additional details as there was some question as to how the swimmers were identified as members of the UCSB swim team.

From the hoist the swimmers proceeded down the balance of the pier to the shoreline ... displacing anglers and fishing line the entire way.

At no time were they more than fifty feet from the pier ... a clear violation of county ordinance 26-82 which states that swimmers must stay at least 100 feet away. 

This is primarily for their own protection since Goleta is a heavily fished pier with multiple lines and hooks in the water on both sides. 

It is also a courtesy to the anglers since swimmers can spook the fish... fortunately the anglers weren't provoked into retaliating against the intruders. 

Common sense would dictate caution when swimming in such a potentially dangerous environment but occasionally even people who should know better need a reminder.

Unfortunately there were no life guards nor park rangers on duty today that could have addressed the problem directly although an attempt was made to reach the county safety officer. 

One suggestion, which will be passed on to the county, was to augment the somewhat concealed sign in the hoist area with additional signboards. 

Perhaps one on each side near the surfline and two more out towards the end. 

September 15th, 2007:  So what headline do I find in my Google Alerts this morning? 

Seventy to swim in relay from Santa Cruz Island to Goleta

From the Ventura County Star

"For the fourth year, dozens of swimmers will cross the channel, 20 minutes at a time, as a fundraiser for ocean-related environmental groups.

Last year, the Ocean Ducks raised more than $28,000 for the Santa Barbara Channelkeeper group. This year, proceeds will go to the Environmental Defense Center. 

Neither the article nor the organization's website indicated exactly where in Goleta they planned to come ashore but the logical place would be near the showers and lifeguard station immediately west of the pier.  They use that location for their twice weekly noontime group swims. 

Although there haven't been any problems with the group's weekly event still I was concerned about this much larger gathering: 70 swimmers in the water along with all the support boats and kayaks. 

After all the problems with pier jumpers and 26-82 code violations over the past month I found my paranoia being kicked into high gear complete with visions of celebratory channel-crossers taking champagne-inspired victory laps inside the reefline on the west side of the pier ... and being snagged by all the people fishing for mackerel in the morning's foggy overcast.


[Later] A closer reading of the organization's plans seems to indicate that only one swimmer needs to land on shore ... all the other 'legs' of the relay would have returned to the support boat/s. Whew - false alarm!

Sometimes I think I might be beginning to take things a bit too seriously ... [sheepish grin]. 


September 18th, 2007: 
March 20, 2007, 10:04:44 AM May 06, 2007, 9:50:56 AM  Kelp harvester August 06, 2007, 11:47:28 AM  Urchin dive boat September 18, 2007, 9:28:08 AM Urchin dive boat January 26,2003  Commercial stick and trap for live rockfish

Sec. 26-77. Pier--No mooring within two hundred feet.
No person shall moor or anchor any commercial vessel within two hundred feet of Goleta Beach Pier except in an emergency. (Ord. No. 3708, § 1).

This morning there was another commercial dive boat in the reef (2nd from the right - CF 1471 KD).  When questioned by the Park Ranger he said he was harvesting urchins. Initially there was confusion over the ordinances involved and he was mistakenly told he had to maintain a 100 foot distance from the pier ... subsequently corrected to 200 feet because of the commercial nature of his activity.

The problem is that there is currently no way that a shore-bound ranger can enforce that code if the boat operator is non-cooperative. What is needed is a procedure to document the violation including the vessel's registration number in order to send the vessel's owner an official warning notice or citation.

Ideally the county should also contact the area's commercial fishing and diving organizations to advice of the applicable ordinances and request their cooperation in alerting their members.

An unaddressed issue is the use of the reef for commercial purposes - since no commercial activity is permitted on the pier and commercial vessels are required to maintain a 200 foot distance it would seem that all commercial activity within that 200 foot zone is also prohibited. Unfortunately the county codes are not clear on that point.

The reef on the west side of the pier is probably the best and most accessible recreational fishing reef in California and one of the main attractions of Goleta Pier.  All it takes is one group of commercial divers (with their larger allowable catch limits), stripping the reef of its fish, crabs or lobsters, to render that distinction useless. 

Perhaps the County could declare the 200 foot zone  closed to commercial fishing under Section 26-11 of the County Codes which allows for restrictions  " ...to protect recreational features or facilities; to conserve resources;" 

Since the portion of the reef accessible from the pier is entirely within that 200 foot zone it would be protected as a recreational and non-commercial resource. A line of buoys at the 200' mark around the pier would then define the zone. 

September 24th, 2007:

(passed 6-19-07)

As I noted last March the number one  approach to reducing guano and negative bird/angler encounters on the pier is an "Extensive public education campaign to control access to feed including identifying sources of unsecured garbage and targeting individuals who are 'compulsive feeders".

Recently I observed two carloads of individuals distribute more than ten (10) loaves of bread to the gulls and pigeons in the east parking lot at one time. 

Since the County's own management plan for the Park gives highest priority to enforcement of the "no feeding wildlife" objective I asked the local ranger what ordinances were being violated.  He said he didn't believe there were any and his 'enforcement' was only advisory. 

Thinking it might be helpful to see how other communities handled the problem I did a search and found this recently enacted Pismo Beach ordinance: 

Within the pier zone, it is unlawful to ...
(1) Feed any pigeon, seagull or any other bird;

(2) Disperse any food material or other matter edible by pigeons, seagulls, or and other any bird so as to make such material or matter available to pigeons, seagulls or other birds for ingestion; or

(3) Permit any food or other matter edible by pigeons, seagulls, or any other bird to remain on the ground after dispersing or dropping the same.

Although I prefer an educational rather than an enforcement approach I realize that having a policy with some 'teeth' to it will help to make the educational campaign relevant to those 'compulsive feeders' who are resistant to all other arguments.

I believe that Pismo's ordinance, with some revision, could be adapted to Goleta Pier as an important component of a comprehensive educational effort in support of the County's 'No feeding wildlife' management objective. 

Editorial Policy
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Copyright © 2007 by Boyd Grant.  All Rights Reserved