Gaviota Village Added to Gaviota State Park (CA)

SANTA BARBARA, CA:  The Trust for Public Land (TPL) today announced the permanent protection of the 43-acre Gaviota Village property through its addition to Gaviota State Park.

Located just above the coastal marine terrace at the western edge of the Gaviota Coast, the property provides spectacular ocean views and has a variety of habitats, including grasslands, chaparral and coastal sage scrub. Canada del Barro flows through the southwest portion of the property and helps provide important wildlife movement corridors.

“TPL is extremely pleased to have successfully acquired this property. Its preservation has been a high priority for the community, State Parks and Santa Barbara County for many years,” said Debra Geiler, Southern California Director for TPL. “I also want to thank our funders who have made the protection of this property possible and especially U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein for her leadership in designating federal funding for this project. Now that it is part of Gaviota State Park, both the property’s natural and scenic resources, as well as its potential to enhance recreational opportunities along the Gaviota Coast are ensured.”

Money for the project came from the federal National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program (NOAA-CELCP), the Goleta Valley Land Trust (GVLT), and the County ofSanta Barbara’s Coastal Resource Enhancement Fund (CREF), a partialmitigation of impacts from the following offshore oil and gas projects:Point Arguello, Point Pedernales, Santa Ynez Unit, and Gaviota Terminal.

“In today’s dismal financial picture, this is one bright light for California’s state parks. Today’s move will ensure the addition of a small, 43-acre property to a popular state park in Santa Barbara County,” Senator Feinstein said. “The community has long looked forward to this day.”

“As those of us who live here know, the Gaviota Coast is one of the jewels of California’s Central Coast. Preserving this parcel is just the beginning in preserving the entire western gateway to this spectacular stretch of coastline we call the Gaviota,” said Congresswoman Lois Capps, who also helped support the NOAA funding for this project.

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors also played a critical role in securing the property. In 2008, under the leadership of then-Supervisor Brooks Firestone, the County Board of Supervisors pledged $860,938 in Coastal Resource Enhancement Funds. Last month, when it appeared that the project might be in jeopardy, the Board, with strong support from Supervisor Doreen Farr, again showed its commitment to this acquisition by providing an additional $500,000 in CREF funds.

A portion of the Gaviota Village property is zoned for highway commercial use and was under significant development threat prior to the completion of this acquisition. Commercial land uses in these coastal foothills are incompatible with the protection of the Gaviota Coast’s natural, scenic, and recreational resources. Additionally, the property is part of a larger effort to piece together up to 10,000 contiguous acres of protected coastal wildlands and open space reaching from the Los Padres National Forest to the beaches of the Channel Island Marine Sanctuary.

“I couldn’t be happier that The Trust for Public Land has successfully concluded the acquisition of the Gaviota Village property on which I worked as a County Supervisor,” stated former Supervisor Firestone. “The commercial zoning on this property was of great concern. Now no one will have to worry about inappropriate development on this very visible part of this spectacular coastline.”

“Acquiring this particular property was critical for a number of reasons,” said Third District County Supervisor Doreen Farr in whose district the project is located. “The commercial zoning threatened this incredible coastline. The natural resources contained on the property, including both sensitive species and habitats, are now protected in perpetuity. In addition, both County residents and visitors to the area will be able to enjoy passive recreational opportunities and the breathtaking scenic views from the property.”

Some of the sensitive species that may be found on the property are the Gaviota tarplant, California red-legged frog, globose dune beetle, yellow-billed cuckoo, two-striped garter snake, San Diego horned lizards, and cactus wren, all of which are protected under both federal and state endangered species laws.

“The addition of this special coastal property to Gaviota State Park has been a high priority for California State Parks for some time,” said Richard Rozzelle, Superintendent of the Channel Coast District. “We are grateful to all of the organizations and agencies that worked so hard to reach the goal of adding this property to the now 2043-acre Gaviota State Park.”

Gaviota State Park, which has more than 86,000 visitors annually, offers hiking, camping, soaking in hot springs, and swimming, diving, surfing, fishing and boating. Dirt fire roads and hiking trails lead into vast expanses of oak woodland and chaparral backcountry. Gaviota State Park offers recreational amenities that include picnic areas, a campground and a boat launch pier.

The CELCP program, which contributed $889,062 to this project, provides a critical tool to respond to the mounting pressures on our coasts and to protect the most sensitive coastal areas. Since its inception, the CELCP program has invested over $200 million to protect more than 40,000 acres in 27 of the 35 coastal states and territories. This federal investment has leveraged at least an equal amount in non-federal matching funds.

The Santa Barbara County CREF program was established in 1987 to help mitigate the impacts of oil and gas development to coastal aesthetics, recreation, tourism and resources.?? Founded in 1992, the Goleta Valley Land Trust is a non-profit organization which focuses on the Goleta Valley and the Gaviota Coast.? The GVLT provided $600,000 in funding for this project.

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since its founding in 1972, TPL has helped protect more than 2.8 million acres of land in 46 states. TPL depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations and businesses to achieve our land for people mission.