The California Department of Parks and Recreation (State Parks) submitted a coastal development permit for the repair and reconstruction of the pier at Gaviota State Park as well as the installation of a rip-rap seawall. The Gaviota pier provided the only public boat launch facility used to access Hollister and Bixby Ranches, which are otherwise inaccessible. The staff recommendation approved the pier rebuild, however prohibited the riprap seawall, instead requiring State Parks to design the landward portion of the pier with a metal grated material to avoid the need for a seawall. State Parks claims that option is feasible; however the agency opposed the recommendation due to financial concerns. The Surfrider Foundation strongly supported the staff recommendation, citing the potential for sensitive habitat impacts within the Kashayit Marine Conservation Area and unmitigated public access impacts.
The Santa Barbara chapter worked hard to evaluate this issue, coordinate our concerns with Coastal Commission staff for months before the hearing. At first, the Coastal Commission recommended approval of the pier WITH the riprap. Due to our efforts, they changed their recommendation and the Commission approved the permit based on their recommendations. This was truly a great win that will help protect beach access and sensitive habitat in this beautiful portion of coastline.