The Environmental Defense Center protects and enhances the environment of California's south central coast through education, advocacy, and legal action.


A Voice for Steelhead

The Environmental Defense Center recently achieved a successful settlement with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation on behalf of our watershed and fish advocacy client California Trout. We sued Reclamation a little over a year ago for its failure to comply with its obligations under the Endangered Species Act to protect the few remaining federally endangered Southern California steelhead in our region that live in Hilton Creek, a tributary of the Santa Ynez River just below Bradbury Dam.

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Photo by Jeff Foot, The Otter Project

Sea Otters Are Coming Home

Last week was Sea Otter Awareness Week and what better way to celebrate our furry friends than U.S District Court Judge John F. Walter upholding the Fish & Wildlife Services’ (FWS) 2012 decision to terminate the “no-otter zone” against a legal challenge from the Pacific Legal Foundation? EDC had intervened in support of the FWS decision on behalf of The Otter Project, Los Angeles Waterkeeper, and itself.

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Secret Treasures of Our Threatened Chaparral Forest

Rising majestically above Santa Barbara, Goleta and Montecito, the Santa Ynez Mountains form the scenic evergreen backdrop that frames the stunning natural beauty and enriches the quality of life in our communities. But this amazing environment is threatened. The deep-rooted chaparral woodlands that hold our mountainsides together during rainstorms are being clear-cut at an alarming and increasing rate, without regard for the wildlife or rare plants that live there.

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On May 19th, the Plains All American Pipeline ruptured spilling more than 100,000 gallons of crude on the Gaviota Coast. Photo by Erin Feinblatt Photography.

Plains All American Pipeline Oil Spill – One Month In

It is hard to believe it has already been one month since the Plains All American Pipeline leaked more than 100,000 gallons of crude oil onto our precious Gaviota Coast, closing once pristine state parks and so far killing a minimum of 280 marine mammals and seabirds. EDC staff has been engaged on multiple fronts, doing essential legal research and investigation and advancing regional, statewide, and federal solutions to ensure our region never again has to face this kind of devastation.

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Refugio Oil Spill, May 20,2015. Photo by Erin Feinblatt.

Learning From Our Mistakes

It has been an emotional experience, standing on Refugio State Beach, overwhelmed and nauseated by the stench and facing the damage that crude oil has once again caused to our precious coastline. It’s not like we haven’t been here before. But somehow each time oil befouls a treasured beach or I see the dark sheen of oil floating toward the horizon, it hits me like a fresh punch.

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We are Bowled Over by Our Wonderful Volunteers

We like to work hard and play hard here at the Environmental Defense Center, and on April 1, we did just that with some of our favorite people. Our amazing volunteers! With over 100 volunteers donating more than 2000 volunteer hours annually, gathering at Santa Barbara Lawn Bowls Club for an evening of fun was one of the ways that we at EDC show how much we value their time and efforts. Whether it is helping at our TGIF events and annual fundraiser, providing office support, helping out at one of our mailing parties, or being outdoors at a creek clean-up or in the EDC garden, our volunteers provide an unparalleled level of assistance that we are so lucky to have.

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EDC Takes Offshore Fracking to Court

You may have heard about fracking and acidizing being utilized onshore in California, but offshore? As crazy as it sounds, oil companies have been fracking and acidizing from offshore platforms in the Santa Barbara Channel for two decades. Crazier still, until recently no one but the oil companies (including local elected officials and state regulators with the California Coastal Commission) was even aware that offshore fracking experiments were being conducted off California’s irreplaceable coastline.

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