On March 19, 2019, the City Council of the City of Goleta adopted the Final Initial Study-Mitigated Negative Declaration (IS-MND) and a Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program (MMRP), and approved the Monarch Butterfly Habitat Management Plan (MBHMP). The MBHMP outlines the programmatic approach and methods for the City of Goleta to manage and improve the Ellwood Mesa eucalyptus forest for the benefit of the overwintering behavior of the monarch butterfly, other wildlife, and the public’s use and enjoyment and the MBHMP is to be effectuated through subsequent implementation plans. The City prepared the MBHMP in compliance with the two key policy documents that drive the protection of monarch butterflies in Goleta: the city of Goleta GP/Coastal land use plan and Ellwood-Devereux Coast Open Space and Habitat Management Plan.
The Phase 1 Implementation Project is a subset of the MBHMP and includes enhancement activities necessary to meet specific goals of the MBHMP, including installation of a permanent irrigation system, improvements to butterfly viewing areas, installation of a temporary water meter, and emergency/maintenance road renovation. The Phase 1 Implementation Project of the MBHMP also consists of monarch butterfly habitat restoration and public access improvements including removal of dead trees, pruning of existing trees to remain, planting of new trees, native restoration planting, improvement of pedestrian and vehicular creek crossings, drainage improvements, improvements to monarch butterfly viewing areas, wayfinding and interpretive signage.
On October 17, 2023, the Council of the City of Goleta approved the Phase 1 Implementation Plan of the MBHMP. The Project addresses implementation of the MBHMP at five of the eight aggregation sites at Ellwood Mesa: Ellwood North, Ellwood Ironbark, Ellwood West, and Ellwood Main, and Ellwood East and implements 20 of the 22 programs outlined in the MBHMP. The Project area includes 60 acres containing the four aggregation sites with the highest number of overwintering populations historically, within the overall management area.
An Addendum to the Ellwood Mesa/Sperling Preserve Monarch Butterfly Habitat Management Plan Final Initial Study – Mitigated Negative Declaration was prepared. The action covered by this NOD is Adopting an Addendum to the Ellwood Mesa Monarch Butterfly Habitat Management Plan Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration Pursuant to Section 15164 of the State CEQA Guidelines and Approving the Development Plan and In-Concept Coastal Development Permit for the Phase I Implementation Plan of the Ellwood Mesa Monarch Butterfly Habitat Management Plan. The City determined that an Addendum for the Project was appropriate pursuant to CEQA Guidelines § 15164 since the Project made minor technical changes to the MBHMP and no circumstances exist calling for the preparation of a subsequent or supplemental Mitigated Negative Declaration pursuant to CEQA Guidelines §§ 15162 and 15163.