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


Gaviota: The End of Southern California


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!

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    Gaviota Coast Conservancy Membership

    Your tax-deductible 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

    Annually recurring $50 membership, for ease; with exclusive invitations, hikes, events, and news

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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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    SB Board of Supervisors Finalizes Gaviota Coast Plan

    On October 16, 2018, by a 3-2 vote, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors took their final step to fully adopt the Gaviota Coast Plan. The Plan, over 10 years in the making, contains the policies, programs and goals for Santa Barbara’s Gaviota Coast planning area.

    To become effective in the coastal zone, the Gaviota Coast Plan had to be certified by the Coastal Commission, and if there were any modifications, to have the County Board of Supervisors accept those modifications. The Coastal Commission conditionally certified the Gaviota Coast Plan on August 10th with 13 suggested modifications. Today the Board had to decide whether to accept all 13 suggested modifications and complete the Gaviota Coast Plan, or to reject or take no action on the modifications in which case the Plan would not apply in the coastal zone.

    The Supervisors received over 100 letters of support for accepting the Commission’s modifications and finalizing the Gaviota Coast Plan. Three letters were received by the Supervisors in opposition. Third District Supervisor Joan Hartmann made the motion to accept the modifications and adopt the Local Coastal Program (LCP). Supervisor Hartmann thanked former Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr who initiated the Gaviota Coast Plan process by forming the Gaviota Planning Advisory Committee (GavPAC) over 10 years ago. A majority of the Supervisors expressed the opinion that the County got the best deal it could from the Coastal Commission. With all modifications accepted, the Plan will be deemed and effective upon a Coastal Commission Executive Director determination that the Board’s action is adequate, and Commission non-objection to that determination.

    Notably, as modified, the Gaviota Coast Plan includes new exemptions for ongoing and historic agricultural operations, providing Gaviota Coast farmers and ranchers with substantial flexibility to change and evolve their operations without first obtaining coastal development permits. This represents a major change from the County’s existing certified LCP which required permits for cultivation and grazing generally, including changes in ongoing operations, and renewed use of historically farmed or grazed areas. The County’s practice had been to exempt all agriculture from permits contrary to the LCP’s requirements, but the Coastal Commission soundly rejected that practice as inconsistent with the LCP and Coastal Act. This had been a major source of disagreement, with the County and agricultural interests on one side, and the Coastal Commission on the other. However, Supervisor Hartmann’s initiative to form a Ad Hoc Subcommittee of the Board and hold a public workshop with Coastal Commission staff in attendance, allowed for an open discussion of this issue and its ultimate resolution. The Gaviota Coast Conservancy proposed, and the Commission included, key language to clarify and broaden the scope of the exemptions for ongoing and historic agriculture.

    Other disputed issues included the definition of and protections for Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Areas (ESHAs), permitting for residential accessory uses, biological study requirements, among other things. On each of these, County and Coastal Commission staff were able to negotiate compromise positions that Supervisors Hartmann, Wolf, and Chair Williams agreed adequately resolved the County’s concerns.

    Now that the Gaviota Coast Plan can take effect in the coastal zone, there will be new meaningful controls on coastal development including stronger view protections (including a view corridor overlay, site design hierarchy, and design guidelines), stronger protections for sensitive habitats and watersheds including minimum setbacks from creeks, and stronger protections for the Gaviota Coast’s rich cultural and historic resources. With the Plan in effect in the coastal zone, there will also be new opportunities for coastal farmers and ranchers to process and sell their agricultural products on-site, and new flexibility and permit relief for ongoing operations, helping to maintain the vitality of Gaviota Coast agriculture.

    Phil McKenna, Gaviota Coast Conservancy Board member and an appointed member of the GavPAC, stated, “The Board’s action is a major accomplishment that will help protect the Gaviota Coast into the future. The Plan establishes trail corridors, visual standards, habitat protection, exemptions for historical agricultural operations and a path for expanded regenerative agricultural practices that enhance habitat, reduce water consumption and sequester carbon in soils.”

     

     

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