In December 2019, SCE performed unpermitted grading in an attempt to widen the Tunnel Trail access road resulting in:

  • Rock and vegetation from cliff scaling and road widening simply pushed over the road edge
  • Over 100 native trees and veg damaged
  • Tons of rocks and soil dumped into Mission Creek, included filling in the Creek pool at the Bridge
  • Streambed and water flows altered
  • Rainbow trout displaced
  • Huge scars above and below the trail
  • Degraded habitat for fish and other critters 
  • Multiple closures of the trail
Photo: Brian Trautwein

Consequences to Date

  • Violations were issued by CDFW, ACE, RWQCB, SBC
  • SCE paid $3.5 million in penalties in a settlement with the DA
  • $875k was directed to environmental groups in SEP funding
  • Ongoing Permitting by CDFW and SBC
Rock Drapery – SCE Facility
Berms compacted to 90%

Where we are today

Two Projects need permits:

  1. Creek Clean-up / CEQA
  2. Goleta-SB Access Road Maintenance Project

Mission Creek is still not cleaned up. Due to trail closures and damage done by SCE’s outdated methods, trail users experience has been degraded.

SCE’s promises to the community have not been kept.

Goleta – SB Access Road Maintenance Project

SCE’s goal is to finish the original project and “improve” the road as access to the transmission towers

  • 18 McCarthy Drains & Rip Rap
  • 270 cu/yards of cut & 420 cu/yards of fill
  • Move 150 cu/yards from RA’s 1-9
  • Create berms similar to RA 1-4 in the “road prism”
  • Temp storage of fill & equipment
  • Trail closures

Goals of the Appeals

  1. Modernize road maintenance practices to reduce sedimentation. 
  2. Require comprehensive environmental review for the the entire creek corridor  and all NOV areas
  3. Keep their promise to make Mission Canyon whole after their egregious violations
  4. Send a strong message that SCE can’t do this again in SB County

Friends of Mission Canyon, in collaboration with Mission Canyon Association, have hired expert road planners Pacific Watershed Associates to assess and improve upon the plan proposed by SCE.

Bottom line

SCE’s current approach to road maintenance is outdated and unnecessarily impactful, and an environmentally superior alternative approach exists.  The County cannot process and consider the Goleta-SB Road Access Maintenance (Road Areas 10 – 16) Project in isolation and must evaluate the Project’s direct and cumulative impacts in the context of the past impacts, and future impacts associated with the remediation and restoration of SCE’s past damage in 2019 to both the Canyon and Creek.

Photo: Brian Trautwein

How to support FOMC

Photo: Brian Trautwein
  1. Call or write the Planning Commission
  2. Attend the Hearing to voice your support for MCA & FOMC’s positions
  3. Ask that the cumulative impacts of SCE’s acts upon the creek and habitat be analyzed and mitigated
  4. Insist that SCE adopt modern road maintenance practices to minimize sedimentation, as outlined by Pacific Watershed  Associates

Watch for our Action Alert once an Appeal Hearing date is set.