Copy
View this email in your browser
NOVEMBER 2020
It's the "Giving Season" so please consider making a donation to Coastal Ranches Conservancy as you read about what we have accomplished so far in 2020. And a big "thank you" to all of our supporters who make this work possible.
COASTAL RANCHES CONSERVANCY
2020 REPORT CARD
Capturing this photo of a Gaviota black bear last month was pretty exciting. He is emerging from a long culvert that runs underneath Highway 101. A very smart bear since using this culvert allows him access to both sides of the highway without having to dodge 4 lanes of traffic.
We believe this photo will help prove the importance of having a properly-designed wildlife crossing under Highway 101 at Gaviota and we are working hard to accomplish this goal. This bear was moving too fast for our camera trap to get his full image.

Real Progress in 2020

  • After a 7 year-long effort by CRC and others, Caltrans has agree to remove the lower 5 steelhead passage barriers in Gaviota Creek and has begun developing the project internally to accomplish this by 2025. We continue to push for all 16 barriers to be removed within that same time frame.
  • We have filed a complaint with the State Water Board about the illegal diversion of 4 million gallons per year of water from Gaviota Creek by State Parks. Returning this water to the natural stream flow will greatly improve habitat for all aquatic species as Gaviota Creek won't dry up as frequently. Steelhead, red-legged frogs, and pond turtles will all benefit.
  • We pushed on State Parks and CDFW to clean-out the debris blocking fish passage under the bridge at the entry to Gaviota State Park; a long-standing problem. The clean-up was completed in October of this year. We will need to keep after this on-going problem until we get a new park access road.
  • We discovered major shortcomings in the environmental review of a new culvert Caltrans needs to build at Gaviota. They missed the fact that the old culvert they will remove is an essential wildlife corridor for the black bear and bobcats our camera traps photographed. We hope the Coastal Commission will support our appeal of the project's approval by the County and send it back for a re-design that will accommodate wildlife. If they do, this will go a long way towards reducing the amount of wildlife killed on Highway 101 in the area.
You can learn more details about our 2020 accomplishments in our Fall Newsletter.
Too many mountain lions are getting killed by traffic on Highway 101 at Gaviota. The lion on the left is about to enter a wildlife undercrossing which, if properly designed, can be a good solution to this problem. The lion on the right didn't have this opportunity.
Gaviota Creek on a Spring day.

IT'S NOT JUST ABOUT THE FISH
KEEPING IT ALL TOGETHER

"Fish, fish, fish, that's all I ever hear about from you guys"

a complaint from a long-time supporter of Coastal Ranches Conservancy

Yes, we have been very focused on restoring the steelhead to Gaviota Creek these past 7 years. And this focus has brought results, as we report above. Our mantra for restoring Gaviota Creek is that we must allow steelhead to access all of the creek, from the estuary to the headwaters.

WE HAVE TO KEEP IT ALL CONNECTED

Fragmentation of habitat by roads, fences, and development does the same thing to wildlife that dams do to the steelhead, it reduces their population and increases the potential for their extinction. For the Gaviota Coast, the four lanes of Highway 101 act as a wildlife barrier along the 20 miles of shoreline from Ellwood to Gaviota. Wildlife who attempt to cross the highway often end up dead: roadkill. Anyone who regularly drives through the Gaviota Pass has a story about road-killed mountain lions, bears, badgers, fox, etc. etc. It's not a hidden problem like fish passage; everyone driving here can see it.

CULVERTS UNDER THE HIGHWAY CAN BECOME SAFE WILDLIFE CROSSINGS

Getting wildlife safely across Highway 101 is an important issue for the entire Gaviota Coast. Many wildlife species utilize the rich resources of the beach and intertidal area as an important food source.

Highway 101 blocks wildlife access between the mountains and the beach, cutting off this important habitat and food supply for wildlife.

Highway 101 from Mariposa Reina to the Las Cruces interchange has one of the highest amounts of road-killed wildlife of anywhere in the state of California. Deer, mountain lions, and black bear all have been killed by vehicles here, including many nearby the new Gaviota culvert location at Canada del Barro. And yet the culvert that Caltrans has proposed to build here does not offer a safe crossing under the highway for these animals and actually makes it more difficult for wildlife who are now using the existing culvert. 

None of the highway culverts between Goleta and Gaviota have been designed to accommodate fish or wildlife passage.

We have fought to get Caltrans to modify their project so that wildlife can continue to have a safe highway undercrossing. We estimate that by increasing the size of their new culvert from 6 ft. in diameter to 10 to 12 ft. it will be large enough for deer and mountain lions to use. We estimate this size increase will only raise the project costs by 20%. We are now preparing to defend our position in an appeal to the California Coastal Commission. 

TO LEARN MORE, READ OUR APPEAL TO THE COASTAL COMMISSION ON THE GAVIOTA CULVERT

IF YOU WANT TO HELP, SEND AN EMAIL SUPPORTING SAFE WILDLIFE CROSSINGS TO CALTRANS AND THE COUNTY.

To support safe wildlife crossings of Highway 101 through Gaviota, write to CALTRANS (tim.gubbins@dot.ca.gov) and County Supervisor Joan Hartmann (jhartmann@countyof sb.org) . Send a copy of your email to us, as long as you're at it. info@coastalranchesconservancy.org 
This bobcat was also photographed by one of our camera traps using the existing Gaviota culvert to cross under the 4 lanes of Highway 101.

We thank all of our many donors who have supported our work over the years. We hope you will continue to offer your donations so our efforts to support nature conservation, restoration and education along the Gaviota Coast can continue.

Please donate today by sending us a check to the address below. Or you may go to our website and donate via PayPal. Send us an email info@coastalranchesconservancy.org to subscribe to our newsletter and you can follow us on Facebook .


68 Hollister Ranch Rd., Gaviota, CA 93117 – Phone (805) 567-5957
A California Non-Profit 501(c)(3) Organization Federal  Tax ID 68-0554135

OUR FAVORITE NATURE EDUCATION PROGRAMS

We provide continuing financial support to these local nature education programs. Click on the links to learn more about them.
Nature Track
Kids in Nature
Facebook
Website
Copyright © 2020 Coastal Ranches Conservancy, All rights reserved.


SUPPORTING NATURE CONSERVATION,
RESTORATION, AND EDUCATION ON THE GAVIOTA COAST


Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp