LOS ANGELES – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District awarded a $593,333.00 grant to the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County on April 25 for estuary restoration of Goleta Slough in Santa Barbara County, Calif.
Under a cooperative agreement between the Corps and the Land Trust, the proposed project will create 7.68 acres of wetlands, enhance 4.83 acres of degraded wetlands and restore and enhance 5.97 acres of wetland-to-upland transitional habitat in the western Goleta Slough. An additional 1.82 acres of the 20.3-acre project site is a sensitive archaeological site and will not be disturbed.
“Representing one of the most beautiful places on earth, I know how important it is that we invest in our public lands,” said U.S. Congresswoman Lois Capps. “I am so pleased that the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County is receiving this important federal funding to restore the habitat at West Goleta Slough and revitalize this land for our children,” said Capps.
The project site is part of the 34.4-acre Goleta Slough Ecological Reserve, owned by the California Department of Fish and Game, and is located within the larger Goleta Slough, which historically was a permanently flooded estuarine embayment more than 1000 acres in size. Goleta Slough has been degraded over time through the construction of a military base in the 1940s and the installation of tide gates in the 1950s, which prevent the project site from being tidally influenced.
"West Goleta Slough was one of five projects recommended by the Estuary Habitat Restoration Council for implementation by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 2009, under the authorization of the Estuary Restoration Act of 2000,” said Se-Yao Hsu, Corps project manager. “The award of the West Goleta Cooperative Agreement is the first in the Nation."
“The use of a cooperative agreement is a new tool for the Corps, which we hope will facilitate implementation of additional projects under this program,” said Ellen Cummings, Corps program manager. I congratulate the Los Angeles District and the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County for their efforts to make this program a success.”
“We are ecstatic that, with this new federal funding, we can restore essential habitat at a time when wetlands nationwide are disappearing at a rapid rate,” said William Abbott, Land Trust project manager. “This project will benefit the community and endangered species alike for years to come.”
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers manages one of the largest federal environmental missions: restoring environmentally damaged lands, constructing sustainable facilities, regulating waterways and managing natural resources, and cleaning up contaminated sites from past military activities.
The Land Trust for Santa Barbara County works to protect natural resources, agricultural lands and open space. Since 1985, the Land Trust has worked with willing landowners, the community and public agencies to protect nearly 22,000 acres in Santa Barbara County.
For additional information about the Estuary Restoration Act, visit http://www.usace.army.mil/Missions/Environmental/EstuaryRestoration.aspx