Green Room: Creek and Watershed Program Updates

Learn how we are protecting our local waterways with these updates from Goleta’s Environmental Services Division. The City of Goleta Creek and Watershed Management Plan (CWMP) was adopted on November 17, 2020, and was identified in the General Plan/Coastal Land Use Plan as an important step towards the City’s conservation efforts. Development of the CWMP was prompted by a desire to protect our natural resources in Goleta.

What is the CWMP?

The CWMP describes the existing conditions of all 12 creeks that run through the City and identifies impairments to creeks and risks to water quality. The plan outlines tasks, projects, and programs to improve water quality, habitat, and all beneficial uses.

Recent Accomplishments

Goleta has made considerable progress towards implementing some of the priorities outlined in the CWMP. Some of these accomplishments are outlined below.

Hiring additional resources. Given that the majority of the CWMP is unfunded and the Public Works department was understaffed, priority was placed on securing additional resources. As a result, Goleta welcomed new Environmental Specialist staff members and a Civic Spark Fellow! Several new contractors to assist with implementation were also brought on board. 

Obtaining grant funding. Collectively, over $5.6 million in funding was acquired through several grants including: the Cal Recycle Beverage Grant and the Caltrans Bulky Items Collection Grant to assist with cleanup efforts; CalFire funding to reduce the risk of wildfire at Ellwood Mesa; and the California Coastal Conservancy Grant for funding towards the Ellwood Mesa Monarch Butterfly Habitat Management Plan.

Tools, technology, and data. Technology and new tools were developed to assist with cleanup and beautification efforts as a part of the CWMP goals. The City created a custom field collection App for geolocating MuttMitt pet waste locations throughout the City. An App for City-wide trash assessments, site inspections, storm drain infrastructure, and more was also developed. Finally, the Beautify Goleta dashboard was created using GIS technology. The City is also in the process of developing the upcoming Creek and Watershed walking tour App.  

Education and outreach. The City conducted outreach, education, and community involvement to engage and educate the public and stakeholders regarding CWMP efforts and initiatives. Workshops and stakeholder meetings were held concerning improved public access for Devereux Creek as well as enhanced trails and expanded public access. Articles such as this Monarch Press Green Room and Our Water Our World are also posted monthly to educate the public about how best to protect our local waterways and provide updates and tips from the City of Goleta Environmental Services Division. Finally, the City continues to educate the public and conduct outreach through tailored social media posts and community events such as Lemon Festival, Coastal Cleanup Day, Earth Day, and Creek Week, which are fun ways to engage the public and promote conservation.

What’s Next?

New and upcoming projects occurring in 2022 through 2024 include key creek stewardship projects that restore habitat and beneficial uses; as well as water resiliency projects that promote water quality, water recharge and supply. Stay tuned for updates in future Green Room articles!