Storm-Fueled Damage At South Coast Beach Raises Questions About Erosion Control Efforts

Apr 11, 2017

Expensive efforts to protect a popular South Coast beach from erosion apparently aren’t working, prompting Santa Barbara County officials to ask serious questions about the beach’s future.

Goleta Beach is used by an estimated 1.5 million people a year. But, it faces serious erosion problems which threaten everything from its pier to parking lot.

In 2015, the State Coastal Commission granted Santa Barbara County permission to put in rock revetments to protect the coastline. But, the measures haven’t worked as planned. Emergency repairs related to storms cost the county nearly a million dollars since the first of the year.

County Supervisor Das Williams says he knows they have to act, but feels like the current strategy is wrong. Supervisor Steve Lavaganino went a step further, saying that it’s a man-made beach that is apparently in the wrong place.

But Supervisor Janet Wolf, whose district includes the beach, says it’s an important community asset that’s heavily used. County officials say efforts to protect it from erosion have cost $12 million dollars since 1995.

County Supervisors Tuesday approved paying for the emergency repairs, but also directed staff members to try to develop a better plan.