2015 Goleta Slough Management Plan

The 2015 Goleta Slough Area Sea Level Rise and Management Plan updates the first Goleta Slough Ecosystem Management Plan prepared by the Goleta Slough Management Committee and adopted by the City of Santa Barbara in 1997. The purpose of the original plan was to provide a comprehensive framework for ecosystem management and impact mitigation within the Goleta Slough Ecosystem. The updated plan re-evaluates the study area based on projected sea level rise, assesses vulnerability and risk to both environmental and human resources, and recommends policies and potential adaptation strategies. The recommended adaptation strategies integrate the interests of multiple stakeholders and provide long-term planning guidance to the City, County, and others to inform decisions and recommendations, e.g., those that might come out of the Santa Barbara Airport Master Plan that may be incorporated into the City’s Local Coastal Program.

Goleta Slough is one of the largest coastal wetlands on California’s Central Coast and provides valuable habitat for numerous species. The Slough also encompasses a complex array of land uses including a municipal airport, two sanitary district facilities, underground gas storage facilities and pipelines, other utility infrastructure, several businesses, a County Park, a state ecological reserve and numerous roads, bridges, and water conveyances, both natural and channelized. The roads within and around Goleta Slough connect U.C. Santa Barbara (UCSB) with the surrounding community. Slough conditions are likely to change dramatically in future decades with increased sea levels. Facilities located within the Slough area provide numerous essential services to the community, and are at risk from projected increases in sea levels due to their elevation. Without advance planning, projected changes to the Slough could lead to devastating losses of species and ecological functions, as well as cost hundreds of millions of dollars of direct damages and lost economic productivity.

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