Gaviota Coast Conservancy is dedicated to protecting the rural character and environmental integrity of the Gaviota Coast for present and future generations


The Gaviota Coast, located in southern Santa Barbara County, includes the coastal watersheds between Coal Oil Point in Goleta, to Point Arguello on Vandenberg Air Force Base, and the remainder of Vandenberg's coast to Point Sal. The portion down-coast of Point Conception constitutes about 15% of Southern California's coast, yet contains approximately 50% of its remaining rural coastline.

The integrity of the Gaviota Coast is threatened by urbanization, rural McMansions and industrial development. Currently, ranches on the eastern Gaviota Coast are proposing residential developments with massive homes adjacent to sensitive habitat, sacred sites and on top of well-used coastal access trails. The County is proposing to build Costco-sized buildings on top of a landfill they operate in a small coastal canyon (Tajiguas), substantially increasing truck traffic through the Gaviota Coast. Four offshore platforms are linked to two oil processing plants by an array of oil and gas pipelines, one of which caused the devastating Refugio Oil Spill on May 19, 2015.  Thanks in part to the shutdown of corroded oil pipelines, Venoco has declared bankruptcy and has returned all of its leases to the State.  Platform Holly will be decommissioned and removed in coming years, and its Ellwood onshore processing facility (located in the City of Goleta) will be removed and cleaned up. 

To meet these challenges and preserve our coastal heritage, the Gaviota Coast Conservancy is dedicated to long-term strategies to permanently protect the Gaviota Coast.  Sign in and subscribe to notifications to hear about upcoming hearings, events, and opportunities. Contribute what you can to help us protect the Gaviota Coast, and thank you!


 

Gaviota: The End of Southern California

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    Gaviota Coast Conservancy Membership

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    Your tax-deductible $50 donation (or monthly recurring donation of $4 or more) enrolls you for one year as a Gaviota Coast Conservancy Member, with special status and opportunities, including:

    • invites to exclusive Gaviota hikes and adventures
    • advocacy updates
    • our biannual Coastlines newsletter
    • members-only event invites
    • and especially a stronger Gaviota Coast Conservancy to better protect our beautiful and unique coastline
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    Annual Membership

     Including exclusive invitations, hikes, events, and our biannual Coastlines

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    Take Action

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    Join Gaviota Coast Conservancy

    and help us continue to preserve our beautiful coastline and watersheds

    Sign in on the sidebar with email, Facebook or Twitter or Join our list to receive our emails. We send emails about once a month and ONLY share the list with Naples Coalition, an allied organization that focuses specifically on the Naples region of the Gaviota Coast. We send our biannual newsletter Coastlines in the Spring and Fall.

    Volunteer to build community support around the issues affecting the Gaviota Coast. Or call Janet Koed, (805) 683-6631.

    Donate to Gaviota Coast Conservancy. We are a volunteer organization that relies upon public support to continue our work. We cannot defend our coastal heritage without broad based community involvement. Please be generous, and thanks.

    Become a Member of Gaviota Coast Conservancy! For $50 your one-year membership includes exclusive members-only events and opportunities like hikes, adventures and parties, and advocacy updates, as well as our biannual newsletter, Coastlines

    Visit the Gaviota Coast! Be docents (to find out how, ask Janet). Use the access that we're fighting to maintain!

    Take pictures of your visits, and share them with us here.

    Help us document your Gaviota usage by filling out this quick online survey. To let us know which specific areas you visit, please click here. For more dedicated users, please fill out, sign, and mail us this print survey (please mail to: Gaviota Survey, PO Box 92233, Santa Barbara, California 93190)

    Attend Events by checking the Gaviota Coast Conservancy Event Calendar for dates and details of upcoming activities.

    Thank you for all you do!

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  • Latest from the blog

    County Board Extends Tajiguas Landfill’s Life by 20 years

    Tajiguas_Gaviota_landfill_by_Bill_Dewey_12_28_16.jpgIn a terrible and momentous decision, the Board of Supervisors re-approved the Tajiguas Resource Recovery Project (TRRP) on a 5-0 vote on November 14, 2017. They made this decision in the worst possible way by withholding critical documents until the last minute (in violation of County rules), relying on questionable if not inaccurate “facts,” and sweeping significant environmental issues under the rug.

     

    The re-approval relied on a deeply flawed environmental analysis that ignored evidence of new significant impacts from both the coastal zone boundary error (that placed the anaerobic digester in the coastal zone) and the emergence of the federally threatened California red-legged frog on landfill areas that will experience increased vehicle traffic and night-lighting. Rather than address these issues head-on, the County chose to ignore them.

     

    Staff disclosed, for the first time, that their coastal zone error will increase the project’s cost by 18%, or $20M, to a total $130M, plus interest.  Before the error, tipping fees were slated to increase by 26% over 3 years, followed by unknown future annual increases as a result of the TRRP’s “Put or Pay” contracts. Rates could go even higher as the County has a $10M deficit in the funds needed to close the landfill. 

     

    While Project documents claim a net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from the deployment of the anaerobic digester (AD), new regulations will accomplish much of this reduction without the AD. More importantly, the TRRP imperils the creation of high-quality compost that can be used for carbon farming; an agricultural process that sequesters atmospheric carbon in the soil.  By eliminating the TRRP, improving source separation of the waste stream, making compost with food scraps, and building robust community participation in recycling we can achieve a carbon negative project. As recently reported in The Economist, forward-thinking communities and businesses must focus on creating net negative emissions. The TRRP’s problematic reduction in GHG emissions squanders the opportunity to achieve much better GHG results. 

     

    The TRRP may have made some sense at some point, but not as it is configured, and not in current market conditions. In 2016 the Board of Supervisors signed contracts with Mustang, the investor-team, to have Mustang build and operate the TRRP. The County also entered into contracts with the four participating cities. The deal was signed and sealed, and ready to take the final step of issuing $120M in municipal bonds when the coastal zone blunder was discovered.  Now the County has revised the project to avoid placing the TRRP in the coastal zone, but numerous new significant coastal zone issues remain unanswered.  More importantly, China recently closed its market for contaminated recycled materials, which is the main output from the dirty materials recovery facility which produces a contaminated feedstock for the anaerobic digester. 

     

    A group of five solid waste experts knowledgeable about current legal and regulatory requirements, recycling markets and the suite of available technical and programmatic options have concluded the TRRP is not the correct approach for the South Coast. The inflexible “Put or Pay" contract locks each participating city into this system for 20 years. This contract is extremely expensive and can already be replaced by simpler, more efficient and proven alternatives. The best way to maximize the reuse and recycling of our waste stream and avoid contaminating reusable materials is to separate at the source and compost. At the end of the day, we as a community need to produce less waste. This is the best way to reduce GHG emissions and lessen our impact on the planet and the Gaviota Coast. The TRRP’s “Put or Pay” contract conflicts with this basic premise. The next best way to lessen the impact of our solid waste is to sort it at the source to minimize the cost of processing and avoid contamination. Many communities have enhanced the effectiveness of their collection and sorting systems, and we should take a page from their book.

     

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