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
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,
"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
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
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."
Across from the restaurant there is an immense eucalyptus tree that had
a cormorant roost ... so much so that all the adjacent parking spaces were
posted with individual signs warning about the consequences of parking
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
13th, 2007: From
"Well, three weeks from now, the
supervisors will hear a proposal to charge parking fees at all county beaches
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.
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)
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.
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.
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
As I was walking away I heard a splash
and noticed a young woman climbing back up the ladder next to the posted
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.
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
It is also a courtesy to the anglers since swimmers can spook
the fish... fortunately the anglers weren't provoked into retaliating against
Common sense would dictate caution when swimming in such a potentially
dangerous environment but occasionally even people who should know better need
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
15th, 2007: So what
headline do I find in my Google Alerts this morning?
to swim in relay from Santa Cruz Island to Goleta
From the Ventura
"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
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
Sometimes I think I might be beginning to take things a bit
too seriously ... [sheepish grin].
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, §
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.
ORDINANCE OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF PISMO BEACH PROHIBITING FEEDING
OF BIRDS IN THE CITY PIER ZONE AND ON THE CYPRESS STREET BRIDGE
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
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
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
(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.
Questions or comments? ... email Pierhead
Copyright © 2007 by Boyd Grant. All Rights Reserved