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Clean, Green & Marine: Santa Barbara Waterfront Department’s Environmental Mission

SANTA BARBARA — As boaters, anglers and marine-life lovers know, it takes a community effort to keep the beaches and waters clean and safe. After all, there is a responsibility to do our part to make sure the waterfronts are here to enjoy for years to come. During a Santa Barbara Harbor Commission Meeting that took place on April 19, several announcements were made that showed Santa Barbara staff is reaching to keep their waters and beaches more spotless and protected than ever.

Clean Marina Program Annual Review

Mick Kronman, Harbor Operations Manager, gave a detailed yearly overview of Santa Barbara’s Clean Marina Program and covered the environmental protection of the harbor, hull-cleaning practices and facilities boaters can use such as bilge pump-out locations, waste oil disposal, marine battery collection and fishing line recycling.

Santa Barbara Harbor piloted a plan for fishing line recycling containers now being used up and down California’s coast. Receptacles to gather monofilament fishing line are located at Stearns Wharf Bait & Tackle stations and on the sportsfishing boats F/V Stardust and F/V Coral Sea. Kronman stated about 5 pounds of line were gathered, which might not seem like a lot but think about how much lightweight fishing line would need to be balled up to reach that weight. Discarded fishing line can cause problems for marine life that become entangled in it among other issues.

The harbor offers more than 40 debris nets and 14 were replaced. Some boaters may not be aware, but Kronman said the nets are there for public use and boaters are encouraged to gather trash, dead animals and other non-biohazard materials from the docks.

Copper-based paints and the alternative products have been controversial, and Kronman discussed the Waterfront Department’s dabbling in anti-fouling paints. While in the past experiments with non-copper paints have not worked for harbor patrol boats, current testing with a non-biocide paint on an 18-foot vessel has reportedly worked well. Kronman also mentioned though it has worked so far, it still might not be an option for harbor patrol boats.

Kronman acknowledged the part of boaters, who have made efforts to utilize new receptacles and programs to dispose of waste, pointing out that boaters have increasingly been taking advantage of the Surrendered and Abandoned Vessel Exchange (SAVE) program.

Commissioner Shoham Yaniv stated the efforts have helped improve the improving water quality and sanitation at Santa Barbara Harbor.

“Harbor water quality is more than just aesthetics … [fishermen] depend on good water quality,” Yaniv said. “The world knows we have clean catches.”

To date, Santa Barbara Harbor is the only one in California to be certified with two clean marina programs.

Costs for the 2017 Fiscal Year to run the Clean Marina Program initially totaled $97,960 with higher costs going to the “Salad Boat” at $23,800, which gathered more debris during the storms, and $37,640 for SAVE Vessel Disposal. However, with FEMA and grant reimbursements, a combined $67,130, the grand total was $30,830 to operate for the year. In contrast with NOAA’s estimate of around $489 million a year to clean up the Pacific Garbage Patch, Santa Barbara’s cost to run the Clean Marine Program is a deal.

Waterfront Department Green Business Certified

Waterfront Business Manager, Brian Bosse, announced Santa Barbara Harbor had recently met all criteria to become certified by Santa Barbara’s Green Business Program, a branch of the state Green Business Program. The certificate, which was awarded on April 11, took place more than six months and required three separate onsite assessments.

“The Waterfront Department is the first department within the city of Santa Barbara organizations to be awarded the green business certification,” Bosse stated.

The process required answering around 200 questions in a 30-page document and completing the aforementioned assessments, reviewed by the state and also local consultants, in areas of waste reduction and recycling, water conservation and waste water, and pollution preservation.

Other local businesses participating in the program were Shoreline Beach Café, Sea Center and Santa Barbara Sailing Center. Bosse encouraged other local businesses and interested parties to reach out to Santa Barbara County’s Green Business California Program Director, Frances Gilliland, who can be reached at 805-705-1686.

Channel Island Marine and Wildlife Institute

Commissioners unanimously voted to extend a five-year lease option to Channel Island Marine and Wildlife Institute (CIMWI), who respond, rescue and treat marine mammals. The space will be rented for $1,000 a month at an 877-square-foot space. To learn more about CIMWI, visit the website at cimwi.org.

Operation Clean Sweep

Kronman announced the annual event Operation Clean Sweep will take place on Saturday, May 5 to continue a seafloor litter-removal project at Marina Two. This year, the event is calling all divers to focus on underwater levels of cleanup.

Though the event will take place shortly after press time, those who have an opportunity to join in will be provided with a delicious boxed lunch, free of charge, as long as they participate in the clean-up event. Jim Sloan, Harbor Commission Chair, reminded participants to wear old clothes since there is a likely chance those involved will get dirty.

More than 19 tons of rubbish has been collected by volunteers in 11 years of annual events, according to the city’s website.

Contact Harbor Operations at 805-564-5531 for further information.

Parimal M. Rohit photo


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SoCal's Clean Beaches

Santa Barbara may be setting examples for staying clean, but the following beaches have the best water quality and overall cleanliness in SoCal according to Heal the Bay’s Beach Report Card Survey of 2016-2017.

  1. Palos Verdes Peninsula – Portuguese Bend Cove, Abalone Cove, Bluff Cove
  2. Newport Beach – Balboa Beach (The Wedge), Crystal Cove
  3. Carlsbad – projection of Cerezo Drive, projection of Palomar Airport Rd., Encina Creek outlet, projection of Ponto Drive, projection of Poinsettia Lane
  4. San Diego – Point Loma Lighthouse
  5. Oxnard – Silver Strand at Sawtella Ave.
  6. San Clemente – Poche Beach
  7. Encinitas – San Elijo Pack (Pipes surf break & north end of stairs), Cardiff State Beach (Lagoon outlet & Las Olas)
  8. Solana Beach – Fletcher Cove
  9. Dana Point – projection of Camino Estrella, S. Capistrano Bay Community Beach

*Beaches are only qualified for Heal the Bay when monitored year-round.