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Emergency construction underway at Goleta Beach Park to protect from El Niño storms

Flickr member: Andy Blackledge

Construction on an emergency project begins this week along the Santa Barbara coast to prevent potential damage to Goleta Beach Park from the forecasted El Niño storms this winter. 

The California Coastal Commission approved an emergency permit last month to allow construction of a half-mile long sand berm starting from the Goleta pier and moving west along the beach.

The berm will be made mostly of sand from a nearby embankment. It will vary in size up to 20 feet wide and 12 feet tall.

Jill Van Wie is the Capital Projects Manager for the county's parks division and said the project is not permanent.

"This is only really in place because of the significantly strong El Niño event that's predicted for this 2015- 2016 winter-spring storm season," said Van Wie.  "So based on the flood damage and the facility damage that's occurred in the past with El Niños, it was considered an emergency by the Coastal Commission and the county."

She said they will however be able to maintain the berm through the end of the storm season. Santa Barbara County expects the project to be complete in two to three weeks.

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