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Environment and Energy

Coastal Commission issues order to fix environmental issues at SB County ranch

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Tuesday the California Coastal Commission issued an order turning private coastline into a mile-long public beach near Santa Barbara. The Commission sent an environmental cease, desist and restore order to the owners of the Cojo Jalama Ranches near Point Conception.

The Environmental Defense Center in said the owners violated the California Coastal Act and the Santa Barbara County Local Coastal Program.

Alleged violations included removal of native vegetation, pouring concrete into a coastal creek, and the construction of 16 unpermitted roads in oak woodlands. The EDC’s Maggie Hall said the violations were first noticed in late 2010 or early 2011, and the organization has been working to get the owners to comply with the law since then.

Hall said the order seeks to remedy the violations through significant habitat restoration and a penalty of $500 thousand dollars. 500 acres will be restored, along with the abandonment of unincorporated roads on the property, which is a working cattle ranch.

She said along with the order, 36 acres of the 24 thousand acre private property will now become open to the public.

“The ranch remains private property except the 36 acres that are now going to be transferred to county parks,” Hall said.

Hall said the ranch provides habitat for many rare and protected species, including red-legged frog and Gaviota Tarplant.

Besides the property's use as a cattle ranch, according to the ranches' website, the owners market the property as a location for films and commercials. It's also home to a popular surfing spot.

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