By Dorrie Vedder, El Gaucho, February 2, 1961
The proposed boat-Marina has been described in such glowing terms that some disadvantages which its construction will bring have been overlooked. The biology department especially is concerned with certain problems connected with conservation. “I’m agin [against?] it!” comments one noted biological professor.
The central problem existing must be understood in relation to the present use of the slough area, which serves as a natural habitat for a wide variety of organisms. Much experimental work is being done with animals living in this particular type of environment. According to Dr. Adams, parasitologists who are working on long-term experiments would find the source of their information destroyed if proposed plans are carried through.
As Dr. Noble pointed out, lately there has been a great deal of growing interest in marine oceanography and in discovering animal and plant life at the sea’s bottom. Of course it is now very impractical to carry on many studies of this type. But as mud organisms living near the sea, such as in the slough, may be similar to sea animals in certain metabolic functions, the slough area is invaluable for research of this type.
Perhaps the birds’ use of the present slough would create the most interesting and tangible problem. For those who appreciate the sight of a blue heron or a flock of ducks in the twilight, the disappearance of the slough will be a great blow. The birds couldn’t possibly stay in this area, their present winter home, with only a small food supply and completely different surroundings. Dr. Erickson reminds that evidence was seen of this fact when the Santa Barbara Harbor was built, and nearly all the birds there disappeared.
Dr. Cushing and Dr. Hardin, as well as others, showed a concern over the fast disappearance of this type of natural habitat throughout California. While Morro Bay and Sandyland Slough near Carpinteria still exist, these two are widely spaced apart, and even they may one day be converted into marinas. “It is time that all men considered more carefully their relationship to the biological world and what they are doing to it” remarks Dr. Pengelly.
Dr. Adams, who has considerable experience in boating, comments on other problems with such a University yacht harbor;
- University expansion would be greatly altered and cut off in some directions.
- An increased traffic problem would be created.
- Only small boats would be able to take advantage of the harbor because boats as large as or larger than sailboats simply wouldn’t fit.
On the other hand the advantages of such a boat harbor would be tremendous in many respects. While the Embarcadero Marina would handle much private boating, it wouldn’t begin to compare in size to this Marina adjacent to the campus.
The slough area would be “beautified” in the eyes of most people, with the creation of a man-kept park and waterway.
Not to be overlooked is the 1000-meter rowing course for University use which would greatly increase University prestige by giving UCSB an opportunity to have a crew team.
Business would increase considerably, and what could be better for a growing community than to have a University, airport, and boat marina with commercial facilities all in the same general area?
It is all too easy to look at just one side of the picture. Both advantages and disadvantages must be weighed carefully and some compromise must be arrived at which would be best for all. Perhaps the answer is to allot a fairly large acreage to the biology department. Progress cannot be stopped, but certainly it is better to see the problems involved and alleviate them with agreement of all.