The Associated Students Coastal Fund recently announced they will be granting the Environmental Defense Center a $7,000 grant to support the center’s work restoring the Goleta Slough Watershed.

Located near UCSB, the Goleta Slough Watershed enhances the water quality of the region by filtering pollutants. The watershed — which includes a number of creeks lined with bike paths and parks — protects the wildlife habitats of local endangered animals, such as steelhead trout, red-legged frogs and tidewater gobies.

According to the Environmental Analyst and Watershed Program Coordinator of the EDC Brian Trautwein, the Coastal Fund’s grant will go toward ensuring a future of clean water for the residents of Goleta.

“This Goleta Watershed Protection Project will help abate pollution and litter and will provide the community with clean water in Goleta’s Creeks and the Goleta Slough,” Trautwein said in an email.

The Goleta Watershed is beneficial to UCSB students and the Goleta community alike, as it provides the chance for nature-centered recreational activities. Additionally, creek buffers and wetlands in the watershed protect the surrounding areas from flooding and erosion. Since the watershed is able to filter pollutants from sewage, it ensures the water becomes cleaner before it eventually reaches the ocean.

The lack of protection for these water sources could result in a decrease of essential groundwater recharge, Trautwein said.

“Much of the groundwater recharge in the Goleta area — a source of our drinking water supplies — comes to us via infiltration from the creeks into the underground water basins,” Trautwein said in an email. “When creeks and watersheds are not protected, flooding and water pollution increases, and groundwater recharge decreases.”

The grant will also help the Environmental Defense Center hire a UCSB student intern who could help identify water diversions, potential pollution sources and developments in Goleta’s creeks and watersheds. The student intern would also help communicate information regarding the Goleta Slough Watershed to the UCSB community and Santa Barbara County residents. Creek clean-ups hosted by the center will also be possible through funding provided by the grant, and these community events will help clean litter from nearby creeks before this pollution washes into the ocean.

The pollution of the coastline along the city of Goleta, which oftentimes leads to beach closures, is the source of major concern to members of both EDC and the nearby community, according to Trautwein.


A version of this article appeared on page 1 of April 9th, 2013′s print edition of the Nexus.