Goleta Bay - Goleta Bay

Restoration Project

Goleta Bay - Goleta Bay

Restoration Objective:

The primary goal of the Goleta Bay kelp anchor study was to determine if it is feasible to use this kelp regeneration method to aid in recovery of the sand-dwelling kelp beds. Additionally, due to the size and location of the kelp bed that once existed offshore of Goleta Bay it is plausible it altered the coastal currents in a manner favourable to the formation of a wide beach.

Site Selection Criteria:

A sandy site was selected that once hosted extensive Macrocystis pyrifera beds that have since disappeared.

Cause Of Decline:

Sand-dwelling Macrocystis beds have failed to recover since they disappeared in the early 1980’s, beginning with the 1982/’83 El Niño event. The lack of recovery may be due in part to the absence of predators such as sea otters foraging within the sand barrens. Additionally, once the numbers of plants comprising the beds drop below a certain critical mass and spacing, they are no longer capable of altering the local conditions in ways needed to ensure their continued survival and they too eventually disappeared.

Key Reasons For Decline:

Ocean warming

Scientific Paper

Goleta Bay Kelp Study, 2018 Survey Report.

R. Kiel, G. Chirstman


Site Observations:

Observation Date

15th Jun 2016 – 15th Nov 2017

Action Summary:

200 granite columns (measuring 2" x 2" x 36") with kelp attached were sunk ~ 30 inches into the seafloor east of Goleta Point in three different sites within the zone once occupied by a sand-dwelling Macrocystis kelp bed. Total volume of (fill) material = 0.617 cubic yard.

Lessons Learned:

Concrete columns can be used to regenerate giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) in California.

Project Outcomes:

Most of the columns had kelp growing on them at the time of the 2018 survey. The limited number of columns in the survey may make them vulnerable to grazing by kelp crabs, opaleye fish, and halfmoon fish. Octopus (Two Spot – Octopus bimaculoides) were also observed over multiple years seeking refuge at the base of the larger plants growing on the columns.

Key Reasons For Decline:

Ocean warming

Area of Restoration (Ha)


Indicator Data:


Ending Value:

Starting Value:

Presence / Absence of Kelp