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.