Editor, Daily Nexus,
The Daily Nexus’ inaccuracies and one-sided summary of the recent County Board of Supervisors meeting concerning Goleta Beach must not go unchallenged (“Board Submits Beach Erosion Solution” Daily Nexus, Jan. 29).
The main inaccuracy concerns the permeable pier, which will utilize wooden pilings, not “steel groins” to stall the flow of sand at Goleta Beach pier and thereby cause the beach to widen without loss of sand downstream over the long term.
The Daily Nexus reported only the oppositional views expressed at the meeting. In fact, 16 citizens spoke about the issue at the meeting. Only three people spoke against it, whereas the other 13 spoke strongly in its favor. They represented the City of Goleta, Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Southern California Gas Company, Friends of Goleta Beach, Goleta Water District and included experienced geologists, environmental engineers and many of the citizens who comprised the Stakeholder Working Group. These people represented the community – not limited interest groups. The 18 members of that working group spent nearly two years studying the facts, the science, the concepts and the speculations for protecting Goleta Beach Park from continued wave erosion, while seeking to enhance the beach – all in an environmentally responsible manner.
The Environmental Defense Council speaker protested that the county should file to extend the permitting process, but county staff replied the California Coastal Commission will not grant any more extensions. The county has had five years to come up with a solution, so the county must apply before Jan. 31, 2008 to implement erosion mitigation measures or be in violation of Coastal Commission regulations. Finally, after six years of interminable studies, meetings, inertia and continued erosion of the park, the supervisors acted – unanimously – in favor of moving ahead at last to mitigate the beach erosion with the least invasive and “softest” solution proposed to them.
The permeable piers will work, in my opinion, just as similar, but not identical, structures elsewhere along the Californian and European coasts do. It is a unique solution to enhance the beach while protecting the park: win-win. “Managed retreat,” which is favored by the Surfrider Foundation, has not been tested anywhere, but it means just what it says: Manage the retreat (read: continued loss) of the park. Do Daily Nexus readers really believe the 1.4 million people that use the park each year want to see that happen? I don’t.