SECTION 2.0 - EXISTING CONDITIONS
2.1 REGIONAL OVERVIEW
The BEACON project area, which encompasses the nearshore region between Coal Oil
Point and Point Mugu, lies at the southeastern end of the Santa Barbara Channel. The
Santa Barbara Channel is bordered on its seaward margin by the northern Channel
Islands: Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, and San Miguel. These islands shelter the
mainland coast from the direct force of incoming south swell. Point Conception at the
western end of the Santa Barbara Channel and the east-west orientation of the coast
provide additional protection from northwest swells. The southeastern Santa Barbara
coast, thus, comprises a relatively protected and benign environment for marine life.
Between Ventura and Point Mugu, the coast turns to a north-south direction and is
exposed to winter storms from the Gulf of Alaska. The Ventura County portion of the
BEACON project area is thus less protected from ocean swell than the Santa Barbara
The Santa Barbara Channel lies along important migration routes for marine mammals,
fishes and seabirds and also contains a diverse assemblage of resident marine life.
Marine habitats within the coastal region at the eastern end of the Santa Barbara
Channel include offshore sand bottoms and rocky reefs, kelp forests, and sandy, rocky
and cobble beaches. Several mud bottom estuaries and salt marshes are also found
along this section of coast.
Section 2.2 of this existing conditions section discusses sensitive marine species found
in the BEACON project area. Section 2.3 describes the biological resources at each of
the six beach placement sites.
2.2 SENSITIVE SPECIES
Table 2-1 lists sensitive coastal species that occur in the BEACON project area. Each
species is discussed briefly below. The occurrence of sensitive species at each of the
six placement sites is discussed in more detail in Section 2.3.
2.2.1 Listed Species
Salt Marsh Bird's Beak (Cordylanthus maritimus ssp. maritimus) - Federal
Endangered, State Endangered. This annual plant is found in the upper or high salt
marsh where it is a hemiparasite, attaching its roots to neighboring marsh perennials.
The salt marsh bird's beak has become endangered primarily through the loss of its salt
marsh habitat. Carpinteria salt marsh is the northwestern limit of occurrence for salt
marsh bird's beak. It is also found just east of the BEACON project area in Mugu
Lagoon. It would not be expected on the beaches targeted for sand placement.
3208 Bio Report