Toppling trout barriers: Local groups clear the way for fish return

Toppling trout barriers: Local groups clear the way for fish return

By Cat Neushul
If you clear it, they will come. That is what representatives from local environmental groups anticipate will happen with steelhead trout in Carpinteria area creeks. Most of the manmade barriers that prohibited steelhead trout from swimming upstream have been removed, clearing the way for the fish to make a reappearance in local creeks.

Mauricio Gomez, director of the South Coast Habitat Restoration and chairman of the Carpinteria Creek Watershed Coalition, said, “The coalition has almost finished removing all the barriers in the watershed. We are in the final stretch.” SCHR and the CCWC have worked together to restore areas along Carpinteria and Gobernador creeks.

Since 2001, the coalition, a group of local landowners, community groups, resource agencies and individuals, has raised more than $4 million in state and federal grant money to restore steelhead habitats. With this money, five restoration projects have been checked off the list, with a sixth one in the planning stages.

One of the projects was The Bliss Fish Passage Restoration Project, which cost $900,000 to complete. Gomez said local contractors removed a concrete driveway, installed a bridge, and created a native habitat with boulders and plants on the Bliss property. He called this type of project a win/win situation. The landowner removed a potential hazard—the driveway spanning the creek bed—and the natural environment was restored. He said that by using area contractors, there is a local economic benefit as well. “Why not have some of the dollars (from grant funding) come into the community and stay here?”

Driveways, such as the one on the Bliss property, created a barrier for steelhead swimming upstream. The fish couldn’t jump over the concrete driveway to reach the other side of the creek. In addition, the steep banks of the creek near the driveway, and the lack of natural obstacles, such as boulders, were problematic. Gomez said that fish swimming upstream need areas to rest along the way. Obstacles, such as boulders, provide natural resting spots.

Carpinteria Creek was once an ideal habitat for steelhead. As recently as the 1960s, the trout were found in abundance in local creeks. While there isn’t historical data identifying the number of steelhead once found in the creeks, Gomez said that personal accounts and photographs tell the story. He said he had seen a photo of a man proudly holding a string of five steelhead he had caught in Carpinteria Creek in one afternoon. Gomez said that as recently as 2008 steelhead trout had been seen in Carpinteria Creek, but the fish had been unable to make their way upstream.

Relay for Life raises over $51K

Nearly 200 residents of the little C turned out last weekend to fight the big C at the Carpinteria Relay for Life, a 24-hour walking relay benefiting the American Cancer Society. As of Sunday morning, the event had raised over $51,000, and the money continued to roll in. This year’s Relay returned to its roots at Aliso School, where organizers say the smooth, new track trumped Linden Field’s gopher-created topography. Top individual participants were event chair Beth Cox with $5,065, Carol Johansen with $2,565 and Ashley Nordholm with $2,373. Out of the 22 teams that participated, top fundraisers were Lola's Angels with $9,480, Hope-ologists with $8,018 and Agilent Tumornators with $7,752.

Lost and gone forever: Curious Cup spends short, significant time in Carpinteria

Lost and gone forever: Curious Cup spends short, significant time in Carpinteria

By Megan Waldrep
Curious Cup bookstore, once a cherished gathering place for children and adults alike, is now a bygone chapter in Carpinteria history. In June, the doors closed for good on the local hub of creativity and literature, and owner Kiona Gross, the powerhouse behind the shop, has turned the page on her retail career.

Fueled by love and a passion to connect children to books, Gross opened Curious Cup just under four years ago. Her daughter Sidney, inspired by a story no less, suggested the name and within months, a new bookstore was born. Reflecting on her experience at Curious Cup, Kiona said, “It has been amazing. I think I got very lucky. I picked a great town, and we had a lot of people that would regularly come into the store, so I got to know a lot of the kids. I loved what I did.”

The business gave Gross an opportunity to meet her heroes, authors she had idolized for years. Best-selling children’s author Lemony Snicket “is just as funny in real life as you would picture him,” Gross said.

The shop also allowed her to shine a spotlight on local authors and give them an opportunity to reach readers. “To me, there was no difference between (Lemony Snicket) and a local author,” she said. “Anyone that has that desire to get people to read, to enjoy the written word, to share what they’re doing ... for me, the store was a place to have access to that.”

Last fall, Gross moved Curious Cup from its original Linden Avenue location to share a space with Carpinteria Toy Co. on the corner of Carpinteria and Palm avenues. The toy store was sold in the spring, and the new owners decided to expand into the entire building. Curious Cup’s official close was June 30.

Many locals miss the friendly little bookstore. “Curious Cup to us was a special, warm, magical book store,” said Hilary Lapidus. “We could always count on it for an uplifting experience that continued after we left the store. We took home tantalizing, creative books with the help of (Gross). She has a way of communicating that makes you feel like you are the only one in the room and that you and your family matter, right down to thinking of a book that would be perfect for you—which it usually was. She gives that warm feeling of community and sincerity that is priceless.”

In its relatively short existence, Curious Cup donated over 8,000 books to charities and schools around Carpinteria. These books and their inspired owners are Gross’ legacy.

She is now the Product Marketing Manager for the online learning division of Forester Media. The role is a good fit for a woman who has coordinated numerous events around town, including, most recently, the Blue Dot Sale, which brought together over 60 local businesses for a city-wide sale.

Though her new job involves a commute to Santa Barbara, Gross will remain a resident of Carpinteria, a town she has grown to love and a town that has grown to love her right back.

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Junior Lifeguard Competition

The Carpinteria Junior LIfeguard program hosted 10 camps spanning the coast from Malibu to Avila Beach at a competition on July 18. Photos by Annette Samarin and Matt Roberts

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Over 55+ breweries! Live Music, Surfboards Shapers & More!

Surf 'n' Suds is a beer festival with a surf twist! Over 55+ breweries will be at Surf 'n' Suds with some amazing craft beer! Local surfboard shapers will be on hand with their latest designs and 3 live bands will be jamming on stage!

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