The city of Carpinteria and Santa Barbara County have launched into recovery mode following the early January storms, which brought debris right to Carpinteria’s beach doorstep, shaped the city’s berm into a cliff-like structure and significantly eroded the Carpinteria Creek. 

Emergency repairs were ordered for the Carpinteria Creek on Saturday, amid concerns about damage done to the bank. Olivia Uribe-Mutal, city public information officer, said Saturday that the bank was damaged during the Jan. 9-10 storm, and “grouted rip rap, rock and earthen bank material immediately upstream of the (Carpinteria Sanitary District wastewater treatment plant) was significantly eroded.” 

Workers are placing 10,000 cubic yards of 2’-4’ diameter rock to help stabilize more than 250 feet of creek bank. Parking is prohibited along the 5000 block of Sixth Street during the bank stabilization. 

Uribe-Mutal said last week that the treatment plan and other public infrastructure, which includes buildings and improvements along Palm Avenue and Sixth Street, are “at risk” due to the creek’s damage. 

The Santa Barbara County Flood Control (SBCFC) also began clearing the city of Carpinteria’s debris basins, which includes the Santa Monica, Gobernador and Arroyo Pardeon basins.

“Maintaining the capacity of the debris basins is crucial for its main function of protecting Carpinteria from destructive debris flows from our foothills,” said Dave Durflinger, Carpinteria city manager. “On the coastal side of Carpinteria Valley, it is also important that collected sediments are transported to the shoreline, where the natural material buttresses our beaches from erosion and vulnerability to winter storm surges, swells and tidal events.”

SBCFC workers are currently transporting rocks, gravel and sand from the basins to the Carpinteria City Beach at Ash Avenue to help clear the basins. Uribe-Mutal and Lael Wageneck, county of Santa Barbara public information officer, said Saturday that the debris from the basins would “naturally flow” to those areas without the basins in place; the basins prevent flooding and damage to buildings across the city. 

“Flooding would spread without these important water channels, likely leading to an increased number of evacuations, damage to streets, homes and local infrastructure, and heightened risk to individual health and safety,” Uribe-Mutal said. 

“The city believes that the most beneficial long-term debris basin sediment management program includes routine deposition of qualified mineral sediments on the shoreline that optimizes long-term cost-effectiveness, environmental benefits and public safety,” Matt Roberts, City of Carpinteria’s director of Parks, Recreation and Public Facilities, added in a press release last week. 

In the Montecito and Carpinteria areas several road closures remain, including East Mountain Drive from Coyote Road to Cold Springs Road; East Mountain Drive from Cold Springs Road to Ashley Road; Bella Vista from Romero Canyon Ladera Lane and the bike path at Maria Ygnacio under Highway 101. The bridge at Padaro Lane also remains closed. 

See all storm-related road closures at: The Carpinteria State Beach remained close through Wednesday; the Los Padres National Forest will close for 60 days due to storm damage. 

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) also approved individual assistance for residents who received damage during the early January storms, the county announced Wednesday. Find out more at or by calling (800) 621-3362. 

Managing Editor

CVN Managing Editor Evelyn Spence is going on her sixth year reporting on hot-button issues in Santa Barbara County. She is passionate about covering local, city and school board issues. Send tips to

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.