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February 2019 Update
The City of Goleta is pleased to announce the reopening of trails on Ellwood Mesa in consultation with the California Coastal Commission. Users are encouraged to use caution on trails and should be aware that many of the trees are drought-stressed and in danger of falling. Users enter at their own risk. A map is available here.
As previously noticed, the City of Goleta has completed a Draft Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration (IS/MND) for the Ellwood Mesa/Sperling Preserve Monarch Butterfly Habitat Management Plan (MBHMP). The City invites comments on the environmental analysis described in the Draft IS/MND. The public comment period began on January 25, 2019, and will end on February 24, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. The Draft MBHMP and IS/MND are available for public review on the City's website at the link below or at the City of Goleta Planning and Environmental Review Department, 130 Cremona Drive, Suite B, Goleta, California, or at the Goleta Public Library. The documents can be found here: https://www.cityofgoleta.org/home/showdocument?id=21579 and https://www.cityofgoleta.org/home/showdocument?id=21867.
February 2018 Update
At the Tuesday, February 20, 2018, 6:00 p.m. City Council meeting, Council received a presentation on the status of the monarch butterfly population counts, hazardous tree removal and trail closure emergency permit implementation, expanded tree survey results and the Butterfly Habitat Management Plan. Read the full staff report here. View the presentation to Council here.
November 2017 Update
October 2017 Update
A presentation to City Council on October 17, 2017, for the Emergency Permit Issuance for the Ellwood Mesa Tree Removal and Trail Closure Project is available here.
Staff is working to mobilize the resources necessary to remove the four trees identified by option 6 for removal before butterfly migration season.
The City is continuing work on the Monarch Butterfly Habitat Management Plan and will provide regular updates on the status and opportunities for the public to provide input on this important project.
September 2017 Update
The Coastal Commission granted an emergency permit for the tree removal work on September 26.
The Goleta City Council held meetings on September 5 and September 7, 2017, to discuss the future of the dead and dying trees on the Ellwood Mesa. After hours of public testimony and deliberation, the Council supported an option to remove a minimal number of trees around three key trails to provide beach access from several locations on the Mesa. The tree removal locations and trail map can be found here. These trails are referred to as Trail 6, Trail 18 and Trail 25 in the General Plan. All other trails remain closed.
Council supported tree removal in the near-term along these three trails to provide public access as quickly as possible once the immediate threat has been removed. The current trail closure map can be found here. As soon as these three trails are reopened, a new map will be posted and distributed.
The Ellwood Main Monarch Aggregation Site (aka Goleta Butterfly Grove) and other aggregation areas on the Ellwood Mesa will remain closed indefinitely.
PROJECT UPDATES (clic aquí para obtener información en español)
- February 14, 2019
- February 12, 2018
- November 17, 2017
- November 8, 2017
- October 13, 2017
- September 26, 2017
- September 12, 2017
- September 1, 2017
- August 25, 2017
- August 15, 2017
- August 1, 2017
- July 21, 2017
- July 19, 2017
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As a result of a tree health assessment performed as part of the Monarch Butterfly Habitat Management Plan, the City recently learned that a significant number of trees in the Ellwood Mesa are dead or dying. Many of the dead and dying eucalyptus trees in the forest were severely impacted by the drought which increased their vulnerability to pests. In an abundance of caution, and at the advice of the City’s insurer, some trails on the Ellwood Mesa were temporarily closed due to the potential for falling trees. As of February 14, 2019, the City of Goleta announced the reopening of trails on Ellwood Mesa in consultation with the California Coastal Commission. Users are encouraged to use caution on trails and should be aware that many of the trees are drought-stressed and in danger of falling. Users enter at their own risk.
OTHER REFERENCE MATERIALS:
- September 7, 2017, City Council Meeting Supplemental Materials: Comparison of Options Pros & Cons
- September 7, 2017, City Council Meeting Supplemental Materials: Comparison of Options Table
- September 7, 2017, City Council Meeting Supplemental Materials: JPIA Letter
- September 7, 2017, City Council Meeting Materials
- September 5, 2017, City Council Meeting Materials
- July 26, 2017, Public Meeting PowerPoint
- July 18, 2017, City Council Presentation
- July 18, 2017, PowerPoint & Staff Report
- FAQs (last updated July 25, 2017)
Other City projects pertaining the Ellwood Mesa:
If you have specific questions or comments, click here.