Santa Barbara County has transporting sediment from local debris basins to two beaches.
The removal, completed March 18, will help protect the Carpinteria Valley from flooding during future storms, according to a county news release.
This round of sediment transport will be the last of the rainy season unless the county Flood Control District decides to conduct more in response to further heavy rain.
Material was cleared from three locations: Gobernador Basin, Santa Monica Basin and the lower reach of Franklin Creek channel into the Carpinteria Salt Marsh Reserve.
Those basins received debris and sediment during several storms over the past couple of months. Material from Gobernador Basin, Franklin Creek and the Carpinteria Salt Marsh was deposited on the Ash Avenue beach in Carpinteria.
Sediment from Santa Monica Basin and material from Montecito was deposited at Goleta Beach.
“It’s not really debris exactly … this year we saw a lot of that coarse silt and cobble,” said Tom Fayram, deputy director of water resources.
The county is still calculating how much material was deposited at each beach location.
Officials from the city of Carpinteria say residents tolerated weeks of nuisances related to the sediment deposits, especially those on Ash Avenue, Sandyland Road and along the truck hauling routes.
The pace of the truck trips were improved this year to mitigate the amount of traffic buildup on city streets and street sweepers worked to keep the road along the routes as clean as possible.
Trucks used a new ramp to deposit material on the beach at Ash Avenue to reduce the amount of mud tracked onto the streets. The Flood Control District also worked to make sure trucks had sealed tailgates to reduce mud leaks.
The city is monitoring the impacts of the sediment deposits on ocean water quality. In February tests conducted by the county Public Health Department revealed bacteria levels above state health standards near the mouth of the salt marsh and the mouth of Carpinteria Creek, but they dropped back to normal levels after a few days without storm influence.
In February an emergency-permitted operation transported more 20,000 cubic yards of debris to the Ash Avenue beach. Most of that material was sediment from Santa Monica Basin.
Once the impact of the Thomas Fire subsides, city officials estimate the basins will only need to be cleaned every three to five years. The fire denuded hills of vegetation, leading to greater runoff during storms, including the catastrophic Montecito debris flow on Jan. 9, 2018, that killed 23 people.