Get Ready...Here Comes the OCEAN!

Top Left: Sandyland/Sand Point (Branden Aroyan) / Top Right: Predictive coastal flooding in Carpinteria (including Sandyland/Sand Point) due to SLR in 2100 (Our Coast Our Future) / Bottom Left: Goleta Slough/Airport (Harry Rabin) / Bottom Right: Predictive coastal flooding in Goleta Slough due to SLR in 2100 (Our Coast Our Future)

The Santa Barbara Airport flooded. Goleta Beach Park gone. The ocean over Cabrillo Blvd...are these scenarios sensationalism? No. The above scenarios will come to pass by 2100 if nothing is done to prevent such inundation- or at least prepare for it.

Sea Level Rise, directly caused by climate change, is a real deal, and theKing Tides of December 22-23, 2018 & January 20-21, 2019 gave us a hint of what the future looks like for Santa Barbara if we do nothing but talk about it.

A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words...HTO contracted withphotographer/pilot Harry Rabin and well-known surf photographer Branden Aroyan to photograph Sandyland/Sand Point (Carpinteria coast area), Miramar Beach, Goleta Beach, and the Santa Barbara Airport. 

The photos speak for themselves. All these areas are at risk of flooding - even now, in a high tide/storm event. Years ago, as climate change symposiums and plans and analyses began to proliferate, HTO made strong input about Adaptation to Sea Level Rise. Years ago, we recognized how much of our infrastructure is in flood zones and smack in the path of an incoming ocean. We maintained then, and emphasize now, that we must act. A building permitted today should last longer than 30-50 years. All the money spent on expanding the Airport might have been better spent building a monorail to the Santa Maria airport - because the Airport is already flooding, and may be totally underwater in too few years.

Left: Miramar Beach December 2018 & January 2019 (Branden Aroyan) / Right: Goleta Beach January 20, 2019 (Branden Aroyan)

Knowing that the seas are coming in and that groundwater will rise with it, HTO has been emphasizing a list of what a responsible community should start doing to prepare:

  • Waterproof, raise, or relocate vulnerable wastewater treatment plants, which will otherwise flood;

  • Disallow building in flood zones (including airports);

  • Clean up toxic pollution in groundwater, which is expected to rise along with sea levels;

  • Halt septic system installation in flood zones (and remove those that are already in high groundwater);

  • Changing permitting requirement in the coastal zone (require setbacks, pilings, etc.)

Heal the Ocean is campaigning for these, and other preventative measures, to prepare for things to come.