The Shoreline Preservation Fund tabled a $10,532 proposal that would pay for a permanent fence around a snowy plover nesting ground at the Coal Oil Point Reserve at its meeting Monday night.
SPF members supported the project, but questioned whether students would and why the university was not willing to financially support it. SPF members tabled the proposal after two hours of debate because they believed students should be educated about plovers and why they need protection, SPF Grants Manager Scott Bull said.
Coal Oil Point Reserve Director Cristina Sandoval said she came to the SPF because she wants to continue with the project as quickly as possible and is not sure if she could secure funding from the university.
“I know the battles with the university and this is not one we are going to win,” she said.
Approximately 196 plovers – a threatened species under the Federal Endangered Species Act – are currently roosting in the Devereaux beach area in the Coal Oil Point Reserve, Sandoval said. The permanent fence would extend 400 meters from the mouth of the Devereaux slough towards Ellwood, taking up 10 percent of the beach area and extending 50 feet beyond the temporary wooden fence that has been in place since the summer.
The California Coastal Commission approved the proposal in November, but the reserve has not yet received funding. Sandoval applied for but did not receive a grant from the Wendy McCaw foundation.
The project will replace the current wooden fence with a permanent metal one that would prevent beach visitors from walking in the main roost area. The project asks for $3,532 to fund equipment needed to build the permanent funding and signs to warn beach visitors of the protected area and that dogs must be on a leash. It also asks for $7,000 to pay the California Conservation Corps., which would remove and re-install 350 feet of fence for seven days at $1,000 a day.
Board members on SPF – a seven members board that receives money from a $3 per student per quarter lock-in fee – questioned the proposal’s restriction of a beach area, which is a popular place for UCSB students. The SPF mission is to support projects that enhance preservation of the marine area around UCSB and increase low impact access to the shoreline.
“I’d almost like to see boardwalk and entrance enhancement as part of this plan,” Bull told Sandoval. “We’d throw you some money to do that.”
The Coal Oil Point Reserve is one of seven reserves managed by UCSB. It was established in 1970 and covers 158 acres on the West Campus area. Sandoval said her annual budget for the reserve is approximately $20,000 but this money usually runs out before the end of the year. She said she has approached Home Depot for a donation but they limit the donation amount to $200-300.
The SPF will make a decision next week and comments can be made to .