Part I: Carpinteria Salt Marsh: Background and Natural History
D. Regulatory and Advisory Agencies and Public Interest Groups
The Carpinteria Salt Marsh (CSM) is a partially fragmented estuarine ecosystem over which also lies many layers of ownership and regulatory authority. The estuary lies within the jurisdictional boundaries of the City of Carpinteria, the County of Santa Barbara, and the State of California through the portion owned by the University of California and known as Carpinteria Salt Marsh Reserve (CSMR). There are also a number of federal, state, county, city, university, and private entities that have jurisdiction over various aspects of development and management of the natural resources and activities that affect these resources. Because effective management of Carpinteria Salt Marsh as a single reserve and an integrated ecosystem, and the protection of its natural resources, depends upon the coordination of all the responsible regulatory and advisory agencies, we have provided a brief overview of the most relevant authorities and a summary of their major areas of responsibility and basic policies.
10.0 Federal Agencies
10.1 Army Corps of Engineers
The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is the federal agency that regulates construction in navigable waters pursuant to section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the River and Harbors Act. These acts relate to the filling of wetlands and the dredging or discharge of materials into rivers, streams, and near shore coastal waters. The USACE offices are directed by a Regional Engineer, and its decisions are based upon the provisions of the Clean Water Act, the Rivers and Harbors Act, and input from other federal agencies, such as the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Environmental Protection Agency, under the Coordination Act. At Carpinteria Salt Marsh, the USACE will be responsible for issuing permits for the Ash Avenue Wetland Project proposed by the City of Carpinteria's Marsh/Park Steering Committee and the Marsh Enhancement Project proposed by the County's Flood Control District, the Land trust for Santa Barbara County, and the University of California's Natural Reserve System.
10.2 Department of Agriculture
10.3 Animal Damage Control
10.4 Soil Conservation Service
The U. S. Soil Conservation Service is the federal agency under which planning is conducted and permits are obtained to implement watershed management and flood control projects. Significant flooding in portions of the Carpinteria Valley during the 1960s caused by major winter storms combined with factors such as fire in the upper watershed, sediment laden streams, development of the coastal plain, and lack of channels through the estuary to the ocean, produced enough regional concern that a watershed work plan was completed by 1968. Known as the Carpinteria Valley Watershed Project, this plan included many aspects of watershed and basin modifications to reduce the threats of erosion, flooding and siltation that are especially acute during large storms with significant amount of rainfall. This project was planned by the U. S. Soil Conservation Service and local agencies including the Santa Barbara County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, Santa Barbara County Resource Conservation District, and the City of Carpinteria. The original work plan (Santa Barbara Soil Conservation District et al. 1967) included appendices on the hydrology, geology, and economy of the watershed and basin areas (California Division of Soil Conservation District 1967 a,b,c).
10.5 National Forest Service
10.6 Department of Interior
10.7 Fish and Wildlife Service
The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is responsible for the management of fish and wildlife resources on federal lands, the regulation of migratory species, and for the management of Federally listed or candidate endangered and threatened species. At Carpinteria Salt Marsh such endangered or candidate species include plants (e.g., Salt Marsh Bird's Beak and birds (e.g., Belding's Savannah Sparrow and Light Footed Clapper Rail). The Fish and Wildlife Service also is engaged in the regulatory process through the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act. This Act allows the USFWS to comment upon proposed projects under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act. In addition to these regulatory activities, the USFWS participates in the local regulatory process through comments on CEQA and NEPA documents, and provides technical services on a case by case basis. The Service also is responsible for administering the Endangered Species Act. This responsibility also includes: (1) listing species as endangered or threatened (except anadromous fish such as salmon and Steelhead Trout, which are under the jurisdiction of the National Marine Fisheries Service); (2) developing recovery plans; and (3) prosecuting violations of the Endangered Species Act.
10.8 Department of Transportation
10.9 U. S. Coast Guard
Oil spills that threaten Carpinteria Salt Marsh from various, largely marine sources (such as the platform spill of 1969 that covered one-third of the estuary) are responded to under the authority of the U.S. Coast Guard. Section 4202 of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 amended the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA) to address the development of a National Planning and response System (U. S. Coast Guard 1993). As part of this system, Area Committees have been established for each area designated by the President of the United States. These area committees are comprised of qualified personnel from federal, state, and local agencies. Each Area Committee, under the direction of the Federal On-scene Coordinator for the area, is responsible for developing an Area Contingency Plan (ACP). For the region that includes Carpinteria Salt Marsh this plan is entitled: Marine Safety Office/Group Los Angeles - Long Beach Oil and Hazardous Substance Area Contingency Plan (U. S. Coast Guard 1993). When this plan is implemented under the National Contingency Plan it is designed to remove the worst case discharge of oil or hazardous substance, and to mitigate or prevent a substantial threat of such a discharge from a vessel, offshore facility, or onshore facility operating in or near the geographic area. Each Area Committee also is responsible for working with state and local officials to pre-plan for joint response efforts, including appropriate procedures for mechanical recovery, dispersal, shoreline cleanup, protection of sensitive environmental area, and protection, rescue, and rehabilitation of fisheries and wildlife. The Area Committee also is required to work with state and local officials to expedite decisions for the use of dispersants and other mitigating substances and devices (U. S. Coast Guard 1993). The Manager of Carpinteria Salt Marsh Reserve is a member of the Area Committee for the Los Angeles and Long Beach Area. Refer to the California Department of Fish and Game Office of Oil Spill Prevention and Response, which co-authors and implements the contingency plans, for additional details.
10.10 Environmental Protection Agency
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the principal federal agency responsible for planning the overall quality of the Nation's environment, including air and water quality. It receives it authority from the National Environmental Policy Act. The EPA engages in a wide variety of research and planning programs, and assists local, state, and regional jurisdictions through provisions of grants and technical expertise. The EPA is the agency chiefly responsible for the administration of the water quality provisions of the Clean Water Act, although its program are carried out directly through the state, where the state has been certified to act on behalf of the EPA as in the case of California through the State Water Resources Control Board and the regional Water Quality Control Boards.
10.11 Federal Emergency Management Agency
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is primarily responsible for responding to emergency situation such as flooding. FEMA provides money, expertise, coordination in response to flooding, as well as planning assistance to local jurisdictions. In addition to its emergency response functions, FEMA also administers the federal Insurance Program and develops maps of flood-prone areas and standards for developing in such areas. FEMA standards are not specifically designed to protect environmental resources, but may encourage development away from flood prone lands and thus reduce impacts to wetland habitats. At Carpinteria Salt Marsh, the County Flood Control District has applied for funds to assist with the cost of desilting the tidal channel of Franklin Creek in 1995 during a sequence of large storms that caused a flood threat in development lands adjacent to Carpinteria Salt Marsh.
10.12 National Marine Fisheries Service
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has responsibility for managing ocean fishes such as halibut and migratory fishes such as salmon and Steelhead Trout. The NMFS provides basic data on fishery resources and technical review of all federally-sponsored projects affecting marine or migratory fishes. The NMFS also is responsible for administering the Endangered Species Act as it relates to anadromous fishes such as Steelhead Trout, now proposed for listing as endangered, which once swam through Carpinteria Salt Marsh to spawn in Santa Monica Creek.
11.0 State Agencies
11.1 California Coastal Commission
The California Coastal Commission (CCC) is governed by a 12 member Commission appointed by the Governor and the California Legislature. The Commission exercises the primary land use regulatory authority within the Coastal Zone. The Commission certifies Local Coastal Programs which authorize local governments to issue Coastal Development permits, and acts as an appeal body for developments appealable to the Commission. The Commission also exercises original permit jurisdiction on state tideland, or public trust lands, and all lands seaward of the mean high tide lines out to three miles. The Commission also has the responsibility to review federal projects through the federal consistency review authority granted by the Department of Commerce.
In addition to its regulatory responsibilities, the Commission also engages in long range planning for the protection and restoration of coastal resources, including wetlands, beaches, and other coastal habitats. The entire study area above the standard of review for developments appealed to the Commission is consistency with the applicable provisions of the Carpinteria Local Coastal Program and the Santa Barbara County Local Coastal Program. The portion of the study area below the mean high tide line falls within the Commission's original permit jurisdiction. The standard of review is the applicable policies of the California Coastal Act.
11.2 California Highway Patrol
11.3 Department of Health Care Services
11.4 Department of Parks and Recreation
The California Department of Parks and Recreation (CDPR) is governed by a 12 member Commission appointed by the Governor and the California Legislature. The CDPR is charged with the responsibility of developing and managing a system of state parks that include high density recreational facilities and ecological reserves containing representative examples of native California habitats. The CDPR develops General Development Plans for individual units of the State Park system and provides for the daily operation and maintenance of the facilities and grounds. Because it is a state agency, the Department of Parks and Recreation is normally exempt from local regulatory control. However, State Park units within the Coastal Zone are subject to the regulatory provisions of certified local coastal programs, or to the Public Works Plans adopted by the California Coastal Commission.
Carpinteria State Beach is located about one mile east of Carpinteria Salt Marsh and is surrounded to the north by the City of Carpinteria. The State of California acquired property east of Linden Avenue in 1932 and created Carpinteria State Beach Park on land previously part of and adjacent to Carpinteria Salt Marsh. The Park was relatively undeveloped until the 1960s. When the City was incorporated in 1965, portions of several streets were abandoned at the request of the State to enhance the Park (City of Carpinteria 1980). Each year, over 450,00 visitors come to the 48-acre Park, which includes 262 campsites and 4000 feet of ocean frontage. Access, interpretive, educational, and resource plans for both the State at the Park and by the City at Ash Avenue are linked naturally by the proximity of the areas along the ocean shoreline, by the historic relationship to the previous extent of the estuary, and by inclusion in the City's Local Coastal Program.
11.5 Department of Transportation (CALTRANS)
11.6 Fire Marshall
11.7 Office of Emergency Services
12.0 Public Utilities Commission
12.1 Regional Water Quality Control Board
The Regional Water Quality Control Board - Central Coast Region (RWQCB) is governed by a nine member State Board that is appointed by the Governor and the California Legislature. The Regional Board develops regional-specific water quality guidelines and policies that are renewed by the State Board. RWQCB has the primary responsibility for setting discharge requirements for both point and non-point discharges. The RWQCB has been authorized to act on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency in the issuance of National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) discharge permits for point discharges. The Board also issues non-point discharge permits under the authority of the Porter Calogne Act. The discharge requirements established by the Board are intended to protect recognized beneficial uses of the receiving waters as identified in water quality control plans for drainage basins. Ocean discharges are evaluated for consistency with the California Ocean Plan. In the Carpinteria Valley, the RWQCB has regulatory authority over agricultural discharges into Carpinteria Salt Marsh, and has levied fines for illegal discharges into the estuary. The State Water Resources Control Board, using funds provided by the EPA under the Clean Water Act, has supported studies that have measured nutrient concentrations in runoff entering Carpinteria Salt Marsh and the fate of nutrients within the marsh (Page 1993, Page et al. 1995, Page 1995)
12.2 Department of Fish and Game
The California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) has primary responsibility for regulating the taking of all species of animals and enforcement of the Department's program regarding rare and/or endangered species of plants and animals. The Department also administers a Wildlife and marine Sanctuary Program that affords special protection to representative or outstanding examples of native California habitats. The Department does not have direct regulatory authority over developments, although it does regularly provide comments on projects through the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process. Furthermore, CDFG does have a measure of regulatory authority through its Stream and Lake Alteration Agreement process under Sections 1600-1605 of the California Fish and Game Code. These sections require that all persons (private or public) enter into an agreement with the Department prior to the alteration of any stream or watercourse depicted as a blueline channel on the largest scale USGS topographic map. This process allows the Department to impose conditions, which will mitigate impacts of a project on aquatic and other natural resources. Alternations to Santa Monica and Franklin creeks, the tidal portions of which flow through Carpinteria Salt Marsh, would require stream alteration agreements, including proposed flood control and marsh enhancement activities.
Office of Oil Spill Prevention and Response. The State of California's lead agency in responding to oil spills in marine waters is the Department of Fish and Game's Office of Oil Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR). OSPR can provide to other state agencies and local government's information relating to the administration of the Oil Spill Response Trust Fund and cost recovery. The Fund can be used to cover promptly the cost of response, containment, and cleanup of oil spilled into marine waters. In addition, the OSPR can recover response costs or damages from responsible parties with the Attorney General's assistance. Refer to additional information under the U. S. Coast Guard, the county office of Oil and Gas Development, and Clean Seas, a private corporation.
12.3 State Coastal Conservancy
The State Coastal Conservancy (SCC) is a division of the Resources Agency and is governed by a seven member Board appointed by the Governor and the California Legislature. The SCC was created in 1976 to help protect and restore the State's resources in the Coastal Zone. The responsibilities of the Conservancy fall into seven categories: preservation of agricultural land; coastal restoration; coastal resource enhancement; urban waterfront restoration; preservation of coastal resource areas; public access to the coast; and assistance to nonprofit organizations and land trust in coastal resource protection. The Coastal Conservancy has the authority to fund development and restoration projects within the Coastal Zone consistent with applicable Coastal Act policies. In addition to administering a grant program for local governments and non-profit groups, the SCC also engages in long range planning for the provision of coastal access and the protection and restoration of unique coastal resources such as Carpinteria Salt Marsh.
12.4 State Lands Commission
The State Lands Commission is governed by a three member Board elected and appointed by the Governor. The State Lands Commission has the primary responsibility for managing state tide and trust lands. The State Lands Commission issues permits and makes determinations regarding the location of the mean high tide line, and the extent of the historic public trust lands. Its decisions are based upon basic policies intended to protect the public's interest in state-owned lands, to ensure the right of public access, and the preservation of natural resources. The State Lands Commission also oversees the leasing of state tidelands for oil and gas development, and carries out various programs such as the removal of artificial hazards and debris from the intertidal zone and other state tidelands. Because Carpinteria Salt Marsh was included in pueblo lands at the time California received statehood, the tidelands of the estuary were not deeded to the State of California, and thus unlike some coastal wetlands in southern California are not regulated directly by the State Lands Commission. However, areas adjacent to the estuary including the intertidal marine wetlands (including areas historically part of the dunes or estuary mouth before the loss of two hundred feet of shoreline breadth) along the coast and nearshore subtidal habitats such as the Carpinteria Reef are regulated by the Commission.
12.5 State Water Resources Control Board
The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) is governed by a five member Board appointed by the governor and the California Legislature. The Board has the primary responsibility for permitting the diversion of water from surface streams, and in some cases from underground waters. The Board also serves as an appeal Board for waste discharge permits issued by the Regional Water Quality Control Boards. The policy and permit decisions are based upon the Federal Clean Water Act, the California Water Code, and relevant sections of the Fish and Game Code as well as on provisions of the California Constitution. In addition to its regulatory functions, the State Board also engages in long range water planning and administers a grant program to support local and regional treatment of liquid wastes (e.g., Federal Clean Water Assessment Program and the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986). See the discussion under projects proposed by the Carpinteria County Water District and others.
13.0 County Agencies and Programs
13.1 Local Coastal Program
Carpinteria Salt Marsh is located within the Carpinteria Valley Planning Area of the Santa Barbara County Coastal Plan and is the largest coastal wetland under County jurisdiction (County of Santa Barbara 1982). In the Coastal Plan, it was given the status of "environmentally sensitive habitat area", as defined in the California Coastal Act (State of California 1976) as "...any area in which plant or animal life or their habitats are either rare or specially valuable because of their special nature or role in an ecosystem and which could be easily disturbed or degraded by human activities and developments." The County concluded this designation was adequate to protect the estuary from direct threat of development, but indirect impacts from sedimentation, toxic runoff, and effects from land use practices in the watershed could threaten the wetlands biological productivity (County of Santa Barbara 1982).
In the Santa Barbara County Coastal Plan, policies were adopted to minimize alteration of watershed areas and to protect wetlands. Policies affecting Carpinteria Salt Marsh include, for example the following: (1) dredging is permitted for the maintenance of tidal flow and continued viability of the wetland habitat or for flood control purposes, but is subject to various conditions such as size of area, time of year, and design specifications; (2) dredge spoils shall not be deposited permanently in areas subject to tidal influence; (3) boating shall be prohibited in wetlands except for research or maintenance purposes; (4) a buffer strip of at least 100 feet shall be maintained in natural conditions along the periphery of wetlands; (5) light recreation such as bird watching and scientific or educational uses is permitted; (6) wetland sandbars may be dredged for the maintenance of tidal flow to ensure the continued biological productivity of the wetland; (7) no unauthorized vehicle traffic shall be permitted and pedestrian traffic shall be regulated; (8) new development adjacent to or in proximity to wetlands shall be compatible with the continuance of the habitat area and shall not result in a reduction in the biological productivity or water quality of the wetland due to runoff or other disturbances; (9) no grazing or other agricultural uses shall be permitted in coastal wetlands; (10) mosquito abatement practices shall be limited to the minimum necessary to protect the health of the area residents and to prevent damage to natural resources; and (10) various policies concerning the protection and potential development of coastal dunes and strand habitats (County of Santa Barbara 1982).
Specific to Carpinteria Salt Marsh, the Coastal Plan indicates the County of Santa Barbara "...shall request the Department of Fish and Game to identify the extent of degradation which has occurred in the Carpinteria Estero. As part of the study, the Department, working jointly with the Santa Barbara County Flood Control Department and the Soil Conservation Service, will also identify the most feasible means of restoration and the area of wetlands to be restored" (County of Santa Barbara 1982). Much progress has been made since 1980; however, since the purchase of more than half of the estuary in 1977, the University of California's Natural Reserve System has been responsible for the management of much of the wetlands previously within the County's, and for the past decade an inter-agency coordinated effort has been made through the City of Carpinteria's Marsh/Park Steering Committee, which includes representatives of various federal, state, county, and local agencies, trusts, and organizations.
13.2 Flood Control and Water Resources
The mission of the Santa Barbara County Flood Control and Water Resources District is to provide flood protection and water conservation to county citizens. Information provided herein is from the District, the Goleta Slough Ecosystem Management Committee (1993), and the Santa Barbara County Flood Control Program Final EIR (1991). Some of the District's goals are to: (1) maintain natural and man-made water courses for essential flood conveyance functions; (2) design and construct drainage and recharge facilities; (3) regulate development of flood prone areas; (4) collect, process, and publish hydrological data; (5) provide emergency response and post-disaster assistance; (6) conduct long-range planning, hazard evaluation, and project prioritization; (7) provide fiscal planning and budget monitoring; and (8) be responsive to the public and promote public education.
The District's mandates come from either the federal or state government. One federal mandate derives from Title 33 - Navigation and Navigable Waters, of the Code of Federal Regulations, under Part 208, Flood Control Regulations. Section (g), Channels and Floodways, states in part that the District is to be certain channels or floodways are clear of debris, weeds, and wild growth; the capacity of a channel or floodway is not being reduced by the formation of shoals; and that banks are not being damaged by rain or wave wash. In the watershed and ecosystem of Carpinteria Salt Marsh the District has assumed this authority in Santa Monica and Franklin creeks and their corresponding debris basins. A second federal mandate derives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (see FEMA in federal agency list).
The state mandates come from the Flood Control Act of 1955 that established the District. The Act is a general statement that says the District is to work to prevent major damage and loss of life by controlling water flowing in rivers or streams. Such work may include (1) maintenance of channels and structures, (2) construction of dams, debris basins, stream revetments, levees, channel or closed conduit improvements, and appurtenant structures, and (3) watershed protection.
Santa Barbara County's Resource Management Department (now = Planning and Development Department) and the Flood Control District undertook in the late 1980s a review of the District's routine maintenance program for creeks, rivers, estuaries, and other wetlands within the County's jurisdictional boundaries. Program elements in review included control of vegetation by use of herbicides and chainsaws, removal of sediments, reshaping of channels by heavy equipment, repair and maintenance of flood control devices such as debris basins and revetments, and use of access ways. An Environmentally Preferred Alternative was proposed in the Final EIR (Santa Barbara County 1991) that "...places flood control in the context of multidisciplined riparian corridor management." Impacts to natural resources and proposed corresponding mitigations are presented in detail in the Final EIR. Examples of the recommended mitigations that affect CSMR include:
The County shall adopt and implement Riparian Corridor and Estuary Management Policies and other policies, as recommended under the Environmentally Preferred Alternative. The County shall also amend Ordinance 3095, Development Adjacent to Watercourses, to stipulate that Resource Management shall make a finding of consistency with the Riparian Corridor and Estuary Management Policies.
The County shall amend Policies 9-38, 9-40, 9-12, and 3-12 of the Coastal Plan, as recommended under Riparian Corridor and Estuary Management Policies, to ensure that maintenance activities are consistent with the resource protection policies of the Coastal Plan Flood Control staff shall demonstrate each year the need for desilting in each of seven habitat categories [e.g., estuaries]. Flood Control desilting permits shall be obtained annually for each category...The least disruptive feasible equipment shall be used...with special evaluation and implementation of hydraulic dredging where feasible, especially at mouth of Atascadero Creek and Carpinteria Salt Marsh. The least disruptive feasible [flood control] devices shall be used. Damaged sites shall be restored or enhanced per guidelines in this EIR. Berms shall be maintained at a low elevation so they can serve as high marsh habitat rather than weed habitat. Conduct desilting operations in Goleta Slough and at Carpinteria Marsh in the non-nesting season for Belding's Savannah Sparrows and Light-footed Clapper Rails (e.g., August-February)
13.3 Local Agency Formation Commission
The Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) has the responsibility for general long rang planning, and approval of annexations of County lands to, among other cities, the City of Carpinteria. LAFCO is governed by a five member Board composed of elected representatives from the County and the cities of Santa Barbara County. LAFCO decisions regarding annexations, spheres of influence, and special district boundaries establish the basic patterns of development within the County. Decisions are based upon a set of general policies established by its Board members, and by consideration of other relevant local and regional plans such as the County and City General Plans and Local Coastal Programs. The majority of the Carpinteria Salt Marsh occurs within the jurisdiction of the County of Santa Barbara and the State of California (as determined by the portioned owned by the University of California). Annexation of additional portions of the estuary to the City of Carpinteria would require a decision of the LAFCO Board.
13.4 Planning and Development Department Santa Barbara County
Planning and Development (PDD, previously known as the Resource Management Department, RMD) has broad responsibilities for the preservation, management, and development of natural resources under county jurisdiction. The mission of Planning and Development, as staff to County decision makers, is to assist project applicants and the public in preserving the quality of life in Santa Barbara County by balancing land development with environmental protection and other planning issues. The Department is responsible for administering and enforcing State of California planning, zoning, environmental protection, development. building and safety laws and codes through policies and ordinances adopted by the Board of Supervisors. Planning and development accomplishes this mission through four offices: (1) Comprehensive Land Use Planning; (2) Development Permit Processing; (3) Building and Safety Code Compliance; and (4) Oil and Gas Development.
13.5 Comprehensive Land Use Planning
Among its many functions, the PDD office of Comprehensive Land Use Planning develops and maintains the State of California mandated General Plan, Local Coastal Plan (see above discussion), and Community Plans for Santa Barbara County; defines the policy framework for land use and development in the County; identifies and maps sensitive environmental resources including wetlands such as Carpinteria Salt Marsh; and develops management plans to preserve unique biological resource areas. One important project initiated by Planning and Development was the review of greenhouse development in the Carpinteria Valley (County of Santa Barbara 1985). The effects of greenhouse development on Carpinteria Salt Marsh have been discussed by various investigators, who have found that nutrients, sediments, and toxic chemicals have entered the western portion of the estuary through several drainages located between Estero Way (previously know as Apple Street) and Sand Point Roads. These problems have been attributed (Page 1979, 1994, 1995; Stanley and Scholin 1984; County of Santa Barbara 1985) to agricultural development, including greenhouses, that occurs along the northern margin of Carpinteria Salt Marsh, north of U.S. Highway 101. A summary of the effects of greenhouse development on the Carpinteria Valley was compiled by the County (1985) in which it was stated that, "Of all the issues involving greenhouse development, potential impact on the Carpinteria Marsh is considered to be among the most important. However, the Marsh issue is difficult to deal with because of the many inter-related variables pertinent to, and affecting this unique ecosystem."
The Discussion Draft is an important step in the process of resolving water quality issues at Carpinteria Salt Marsh. The biological resources supported by the estuary will be influenced positively by the implementation of improved mitigation measures and by recommendations of the Technical Review Team. Authors of the Draft recognize the importance of the greenhouse issue in a concluding paragraph:
It may be that more control over irrigation runoff and the mobility of fertilizers and pesticides can be accomplished through conversion of open field agriculture to greenhouses. If this is true, then such increased control could actually reduce levels of nutrient and chemical pollution entering the marshlands. Nevertheless, recent problems of contamination of the marsh by effluents and waste waters from the Sandyland Nursery constitute an important example of how increased impervious surfaces in conjunction with uncontrolled disposal of waste water from a greenhouse operation can acutely impact wetland habitats.
One conclusion of the draft report is that County policy and mitigation measures will contribute to a reduction in greenhouse effluent containing contaminants. Improved conditions are essential to prevent further degradation of the western basin (Basin III) of the estuary. The Coastal Act (State of California 1976) and the Coastal Plan (County of Santa Barbara 1982) require that new development adjacent to or in proximity to wetlands shall be compatible with these environmentally sensitive habitats, and shall not result in reduction of biological productivity or degradation of water quality due to runoff or other disturbances (County of Santa Barbara 1985). Thus further greenhouse development in the Carpinteria Valley must meet policy requirements concerning the environmental quality of Carpinteria Salt Marsh.
13.6 Oil and Gas Development
Among its many functions, the PDD office of Oil and Gas Development works to influence federal and state energy policy in the interests of the citizens of Santa Barbara County; develops energy plans and ordinances to best meet adopted federal, state and local goals; participates in joint federal, state and local review panels for the environmental review and permitting of major oil and gas development projects; ensures that oil and gas projects are developed and operated in compliance with the permit conditions imposed by the County decision makers; and enforces the Santa Barbara County Petroleum Ordinance to protect public health, safety and the environment through permitting and inspection of onshore oil and gas facilities during drilling, production operations, and abandonment of oil and gas wells. This office also administers the County's Coastal Resource Enhancement Fund program, which has support various efforts at Carpinteria Salt Marsh including the purchase of property for preservation and restoration by the City of Carpinteria and by the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County. These properties are designated by cooperative agreements to become part of the University's Carpinteria Salt Marsh Reserve.
The California Coastal Act (State of California 1976) and the Santa Barbara County Coastal Plan (County of Santa Barbara 1982) address development of petroleum resources and the potential impacts of such development in State Tidelands and onshore areas of the Coastal Zone. Because various aspects of the oil industry are forms of development permissible in regions protected by the Coastal Act, environmental reports analyzing proposed oil developments must address policies adopted by the State that control the construction and operation of facilities in the Coastal Zone. Federal jurisdiction occurs in offshore area beyond State Tidelands. Refer to discussions under the U. S. Coast Guard, the State DFG Office of Oil Spill Prevention and Response, State Lands Commission, and County Comprehensive Planning for additional information on coordination of oil and gas development, impacts, spill response, and mitigation.
13.7 Vector Control District
The County Vector Control District (previously known as the Carpinteria Mosquito Abatement District) has regulatory authority in the region and has a regular program to sample for and abate mosquitoes in the wetlands at Carpinteria Salt Marsh. The information contained herein was provided by the Vector Control District and the Goleta Slough Ecosystem Management Committee (1993).
The District is responsible for protecting the public's health and welfare by preventing vector-borne diseases and to minimize discomfort, injury, and economic loss from mosquitoes and other vectors. The enabling statues for this District are the California Health and Safety Codes relating to local agencies engaged in vector control. These statues or "powers of the district board" are the polices that the District applies to various sites in the County. Several key provisions from the Code include the following:
The District Board may take all necessary or proper steps for the control of mosquitoes, flies, or other vectors, either in the district or in the territory not in the district but so situated with respect to the district that mosquitoes, flies, or other vectors may disperse from the territory into the district. The district may abate as nuisances all standing water and other breeding places for mosquitoes, flies, or other vectors, either in the district or in territory not in the district but so situated with respect to the district that mosquitoes, flies, or other vectors from the territory disperse into the district. Any state or local agency and a district may enter into contractual agreements to provide control of nuisances as defined in the [code]. The authority which is granted by this [code] is in addition to any other authority which a state agency and a district may have to enter in contractual agreements for the control of vectors.
The objective of Vector Control District is to control existing mosquito breeding sources and to prevent the creation of new sources within the District to protect the public's health and comfort. The California Sate Health and Safety Codes emphasize that it is the owner of property on which a breeding source is located is responsible for the abatement of the nuisance and the prevention of a recurrence. The District's goal is to work with all property owners, including the owners of ecological reserves, to control mosquito and other vector problems. The abatement or control of mosquitoes is a broad integrated approach and can include translocation of mosquito-eating fish, chemical control with specially formulated oils, use of growth regulators and bacteria that attach mosquito larvae, and physical control methods such as draining wetlands of stagnant water. The District has the ability to assess civil penalties, pending a hearing, if a notice to abate a public nuisance has not been complied with.
The District derives its funding through the levy of a tax on property. However, many properties are under control of state and local agencies that do not contribute to this fund. The Health and Safety Codes enable the District to enter into a contract with other agencies to help offset the cost of vector control. These Codes also are used by the District to insure that any changes in land use, implementation of management plans, or changes in control procedures will be managed or designed to minimize the effect upon the public's health and safety. For example, the District may also develop Mosquito or Vector Management Plans for environmentally sensitive habitats, using the State Department of Health Services Vector Prevention Guidelines and Standards, to help control mosquitoes and other vectors.
At Carpinteria Salt Marsh, the Vector Control District has identified 10 species in the freshwater, brackish, and salt marsh habitats. Mosquitoes have been a problem at the estuary (Macdonald 1976), but regular tidal circulation within the estuary has eliminated serious infestations. However, spot sprays and rare aerial spraying in the past have been utilized by the District when problems occur. Because of the accumulation of sediments and debris, and the disruption of circulation patterns by berms, levees, water can pond in basins, ditches, and channels can occur resulting in breeding areas for mosquitoes. A map illustrating potential areas of "enhancement" (e.g. removal of vegetation that blocks drainages) and "restoration" (e.g., hand-ditching of new channels to restore tidal circulation) was prepared in the mid-1980s, but no application for a coastal development permit was ever filed. Because many of the problems of reduced tidal circulation may be corrected by the City's Ash Avenue Enhancement and the County's Marsh Enhancement projects, proposals by the District have been on hold until these projects are implemented.
13.8 Water District
The Carpinteria County Water District proposed to appropriate surface water from Santa Monica Creek for use in a groundwater recharge program. This project was proposed by the Chevron Land and development Company to provide a supplemental water supply to the District to mitigate adverse impacts from a residential development project (Carpinteria Bluffs Area I Specific Plan) submitted to the City of Carpinteria by the project sponsor. About 150 acre feet per year (AFY) or 12% of surface water "surplus" flow was proposed for removal from Santa Monica Creek and thus from the fresh water flowing into Carpinteria Salt Marsh. Impacts to habitats along Santa Monica Creek and in the estuary are of special concern. An environmental assessment of the Santa Monica project prepared by Woodward-Clyde (1982) provided an analysis of the potential impacts from this diversion project. They estimated that prior to modifications of Santa Monica Creek that were constructed as part of the Carpinteria Valley Watershed Project in 1974, the average annual discharge from Santa Monica Creek was estimated to be 600 AFY. Following modifications such as channelization and lining with cement, runoff has increased, and a minimum of 60 AFY and as many as 100 AFY of runoff that once recharged the groundwater basin is estimated to now flow to the Pacific Ocean. Because the proposed project design would ensure that the greatest quantities of water would be diverted during the peak stream flows (the flows range from about 58 to 6300 cubic feet per second (CFS), only moderate reduction in the annual flow conditions in Santa Monica Creek were predicted (Woodward-Clyde 1982).
Effects of the project on stream and salt marsh ecosystem were predicted by Woodward-Clyde to be minimal. Because Santa Monica Creek is cement-lined from above the proposed diversion site to the estuary, the project was predicted by Woodward-Clyde to have no impact on the ecology of Santa Monica Creek upstream from the Carpinteria Salt Marsh. Furthermore, and without providing any substantiation, they predicted that, "The absence of apparent freshwater influence along Santa Monica and Franklin creeks seaward of the Southern Pacific Railroad, suggest that an average annual reduction in total freshwater input [to the estuary] from 1,230 acre-feet to 1,080 acre feet will have no significant impact on either the specific biota or general health and ecology of the Carpinteria Marsh complex." Thus there would be no increased deposition of sediment in the estuary and tidal flushing of the estuary should not be affected because reduced capacity for storm runoff to keep the outlet open is not expected to occur.
Of great importance, however, is one of the long-term impacts listed in the Woodward-Clyde report: Should additional water diversion and injection programs similar to that considered here be proposed for Santa Monica and Franklin Creeks, their cumulative impacts are likely to become increasingly adverse as stream flows are further diminished. In this regard, approval of this particular facility could reduce the flexibility of future water resource allocations and regional planning activities. The situation is not irreversible, however, as operation of the proposed facility could be discontinued at some time in the future if such a decision were appropriate. Although Woodward-Clyde concluded that this proposed water diversion project, which was not approved and has not been constructed, would have no significant long-term adverse environmental impacts, Ferren and others argued successfully that this conclusion was made in the absence of data and that project affects on water quality, sedimentation, and resources including a halibut fishery that depends on Carpinteria Salt Marsh including the tidal portion of Santa Monica Creek, are at best unknown and at worst significantly negative.
14.0 City Agencies and Programs
14.1 Local Coastal Program
Because the City of Carpinteria occurs adjacent to and includes a small portion of Carpinteria Salt Marsh, the City of Carpinteria Coastal Plan (City of Carpinteria 1980) addresses the environmentally sensitive nature of the estuary's habitats, which is designated an environmentally sensitive habitat. Polices similar to those of the County have been adopted and additional ones specific to the City are listed in the Coastal Plan. These policies include: (1) the City shall prepare an implementation program for the development of Carpinteria, Santa Monica, and Franklin creek trails; (2) the creek trails shall be designated and located to prevent any direct or indirect impacts on the riparian habitats of the creeks or on Carpinteria Salt Marsh; (3) a feasibility study for a proposed recreation pier and related facilities should be conducted and should include an assessment of impacts on Carpinteria Salt Marsh; (4) the City shall pursue available funding sources to determine the extent to which the area bounded by Ash Avenue, Third Street, and the City's western boundary may be reasonably restored as a tidal marsh and to what extent this area lies within public trust; and (5) various additional policies pertaining dune and strand habitats and to the specific plan for development that might occur along Ash Avenue.
14.2 Downtown and Waterfront Revitalization Program
City of Carpinteria Downtown and Waterfront Revitalization Program and Specific Plan (Interface Planning and Counseling Corporation 1988) was adopted by the City in 1988 and funded in part by the California State Coastal Conservancy. The purpose of the document was to establish a Specific Plan to guide and coordinate the character and quality of development and redevelopment located within the downtown core area of Carpinteria and along that portion of beach front that is located within the City limits. The Ash Avenue parcels are located along the eastern margin of the estuary and at the time of the adoption of the Plan represented the largest undeveloped site in private ownership within the Specific Plan area. The Plan states that, the site also represents an important potential educational/recreational resource. The Marsh has state-wide significance as one of the few remaining extensive wetland sites in California. The Ash Avenue Upland Area is directly adjacent to the site and could therefore provide viewing/interpretive opportunities for residents and tourists who are interested in the slough. Preliminary designs have been developed by the Coastal Conservancy for an interpretive center...The City, in joint venture with the Coastal Conservancy and the University of California [Natural] Reserve System, is attempting to acquire the property for purposes of wetlands restoration and conservation. The property, if acquired, would be owned and maintained by the City, and in cooperation with the [Natural] Reserve System would be utilized as an educational parkland supporting representative wetland species...As this area represents the last remaining slough remnant within the City, and also provides educational opportunities and unobstructed views of the Carpinteria Marsh, the priority use for the site would be public open space...[In] any case, view corridors and sensitive habitat area preservation on and adjacent to the site should be integrated into any site development so as to preserve views of the marsh and habitat values With adoption of the Specific Plan, the City adopted the following policy for Area IV - Ash Avenue Upland Slough Area: "Acquire the Ash Avenue Slough and Upland areas for public interpretive area and to construct a public parking lot on southeast portion of Ash Avenue Slough parcel." In association with this recommendation, an implementation, cost and funding, and time and priority program for the policy also was adopted.
14.3 Land Trust for Santa Barbara County
The Land Trust for Santa Barbara County (LTSBC) is a non-profit organization that works privately with landowners who want to permanently preserve the important natural, agricultural, or scenic characteristics of their lands. Land preservation by The Land Trust is usually achieved through conservation easements, although at Carpinteria Salt Marsh portions of the land are owned by The Land Trust and other portions are proposed for conservation easements to be held by The Land Trust. The LTSBC also has facilitated the acquisition of lands by the City of Carpinteria and has served as a facilitator regarding the funding of contracts for restoration, design, and management plans relevant to the preservation and enhancement of the estuary.
14.4 Clean Seas
Clean Seas is the corporation based in Carpinteria that is contracted by the Office of Oil Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) and the U. S. Coast Guard to respond to marine oil spills and clean up or prevent impacts to resources and property. An example of the importance of having Clean Seas in the Carpinteria Area was a proposal by Chevron U.S.A to locate an offshore oil platform in lease PRC 3150 about 0.5 miles (0.8 km) south of the mouth of Carpinteria Salt Marsh in the mid-1980s. Among the impacts to environmental resources discussed in the Draft Environmental Impact Report (Continental Shelf Associates Inc. 1985) are the potential impacts to "unique marine environments", including the habitats for endangered species in estuaries. Such resources at Carpinteria Salt Marsh and other sites along the coast of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties could be seriously affected by an oil spill, as stated in the DEIR. "Prepositioning spill response equipment [e.g., booms and bulldozers] is most critical for [Carpinteria Salt Marsh] due to the relatively short time 945 minutes needed for a spill originating at PCR 3150 to reach the Carpinteria nearshore area" (Continental Shelf Associates, Inc. 1985). In association with the U. S. Coast Guard and the California DFG OSPR, an oil spill response plan has been developed for Carpinteria Salt Marsh which would be implemented by Clean Seas.
An example of what can happen without response planning occurred on January 28, 1969, when a large oil spill from Platform A, an offshore drilling platform located on a federal oil lease off the coast of Summerland and southwest of the Carpinteria Valley, caused extensive damage to the intertidal and nearshore flora and fauna of a portion of the Santa Barbara coast (Holmes and DeWitt 1970; Macdonald 1976). Ecological effects of the spill, however, were not as dramatic as had been predicted shortly after the accident (Straughan 1970). At least one account of the spill (Macdonald 1976) reports that it did not cause major contamination of Carpinteria Salt Marsh because floating crude oil was prevented from entering the estuary due to a sand berm that was constructed hastily at the mouth. In another account by a local resident (W. Traverse, pers. comm. 1985), however, it was noted that the berm was not constructed until a week after the spill occurred and more that half of the salt marsh was impacted by oil. Mr. Traverse stated that the oil was four to five inches thick in channels near the mouth and thinned towards the margins of the estuary. He observed that during the year following the spill, the crude oil was apparently decomposed by bacteria. Thus the oil spill had at least short-term significant impact at Carpinteria Salt Marsh and perhaps unknown long-term effects to the ecosystem. In 1969, organizations such as OSPR and companies such as Clean Seas did not exist. Refer to the discussion under Coast Guard and the County Oil and Gas Development for additional information on the regulation of the petroleum industry in relationship to wetland ecosystems such as Carpinteria Salt Marsh.
14.5 UCSB Natural Reserve System
As a Trustee Agency under the California Environmental Quality Act, the University of California manages the resources of its lands in the Public Trust. Regarding the establishment of reserves, the UC Natural Reserve System (UCNRS 1991) maintains that: "Setting aside the land is simply the first step in fulfilling that [public] trust. Reserves require active, scientifically sound management to ensure their continued viability as natural systems, as well as their long-term availability for teaching and research. This truly fulfills our responsibility as Trustee. The mission of the Natural Reserve System is to contribute to the understanding and wise management of the earth and its natural systems by supporting university-level teaching, research, and public service at protected natural areas throughout California (UCNRS 1991).
CSMR is managed by the UC NRS through the local campus branch of the NRS known as the University of California, Santa Barbara, Natural Reserve System (UCSB NRS). A staff Reserve Manager and part-time reserve Steward, advised by a Faculty Manager, are responsible for the routine management of the reserve. The UCSB NRS Advisory Committee and the UCSB NRS directors provide oversight and the direction of the UCSB managed NRS reserves. The office of the UCSB NRS, where applications, reservations, and reports for example are made, is managed by an Administrative Assistant.