Audit, Compliance and Risk Blog

2014 Creek Week in Santa Barbara

Posted by STP Editorial Team on Mon, Aug 25, 2014 15th Annual Creek Week will take place September 20th – 28th, 2014. Creek Week is an annual community event celebrating Santa Barbara’s local creeks and the ocean with many groups sponsoring events to help build awareness and stewardship of the natural treasures of the area.

Creek Week is coordinated by the City of Santa Barbara, County of Santa Barbara, City of Carpinteria, City of Goleta, and UC Santa Barbara, with events hosted by many community organizations throughout the week.

Native Planting Events

The Creeks Division of Santa Barbara hosts native planting events throughout the year at creek restoration project sites and other creek side stewardship sites. Some of these will take place during the annual Creek Week celebration in September.

Creek Clean-Ups

Each Fall, the Creeks Division (along with a few community volunteers) conduct intensive clean-ups of local creeks within Santa Barbara in an attempt to remove trash and debris before the rainy season washes it all out to the ocean. If you're interested in volunteering, this project generally needs hard working volunteers for a half-day or full-day effort.

What Can You Do Every Day to Help?

Car Washing

Don’t dirty the ocean when you clean the car. When you wash your car on the street, oil and soapy water run into the gutter, down the storm drain and straight to the creeks and ocean. Pollutants associated with wash water include dirt, oil, fuel residues, metals, paint, and any cleaners used, such as acid, solvent, detergents, or degreasers. Biochemical processes break down pollution in the water, using oxygen that aquatic organisms need to survive. What can you do instead? Go to a commercial car wash where the water is collected and treated.

Leaky Cars

Maintain your car. Oil and fluid drips from leaky cars on driveways and streets flow into the storm drain and end up in our creeks and ocean. Did you know that dumping a single quart of motor oil down the storm drain can pollute 250,000 gallons of water. Automotive fluids are extremely toxic to fish and other aquatic wildlife. Antifreeze is especially harmful to animals that are attracted to its sweet smell and taste. Soapy water from car washing contains soaps and surfactants that pollute creeks and cause algae blooms.

Healthy Yards

Reduce your use of toxic pesticides and fertilizers for a healthier environment and prevent harmful chemicals from washing off your yard and into the creeks and ocean. Studies show that the most commonly used pesticides are the ones most likely to cause water quality problems. More than half of the pesticides causing water quality problems are used in urban areas by residents, home gardeners, and pest control professionals in and around homes, schools, and businesses. Even small amounts of pesticides can be lethal to marine life, birds, and other life forms. Fertilizer can get washed into storm drains, when it rains or from over-irrigation, and flow directly into creeks and the ocean. This causes algae to grow, which uses up oxygen that fish needs to survive.

Pet Waste

Always pick up after your pet. You can prevent viruses and bacteria from washing into our creeks and ocean, harming people and marine life. When it rains, or if yards are over-watered, untreated animal waste flows directly to the stormdrains, creeks, and the ocean. Animal waste contains bacteria that can cause gastro-intestinal and other medical problems. Animal waste that makes its way to our creeks and ocean can also infect and kill marine animals and cause beach warnings to protect public health when bacteria levels are too high.

Creek Week Information

If you are interested in organizing a creek clean-up for your business, organization, or as a community service project, Creek Week organizers can work with you and provide materials (bags, gloves, etc.) and help you choose a suitable location.

You can find more information on Facebook. If you click “like” on the Creek Week Facebook page you can keep up to date on Creek Week developments, or contact one of the agency representatives below for more information.

Liz Smith, City of Santa Barbara Creeks Division, (805) 897-2658
Fray Crease, County of Santa Barbara, Project Clean Water, (805) 568-3546
Everett King, City of Goleta Environmental Services, (805) 961-7565
Erin Maker, City of Carpinteria Watershed Management Program, (805) 684-5405

For more information, visit the Santa Barbara website for Creek Week.

STP has recently published an update for Environmental Auditing: Air Quality Management in Santa Barbara and also produces the following related guides:

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