USGS - science for a changing world

Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center

Santa Barbara Channel

The Santa Barbara Channel area extends from the steep Santa Ynez Mountains on the north to the Channel Islands and adjacent continental shelf on the south, and from Point Conception east to the Hueneme submarine canyon. This dynamic landscape is characterized by diverse ecosystems and urban to rural populations, and faces increasing environmental stress due to development, climate change, and significant natural hazards.

New high-resolution, shaded-relief seafloor map of Santa Barbara Channel. Map of California shows location of the Channel. Click for a larger version.USGS has a long history of work in this area, providing information on a range of coastal zone management issues to local, state, and federal stakeholders. 

The U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) has specific land and natural resource management responsibilities in the Santa Barbara Channel associated with the Channel Islands National Park (National Park Service, or NPS), ongoing petroleum production and infrastructure in federal waters (Minerals Management Service, or MMS), and endangered species recovery (Fish and Wildlife Service, or FWS). The Santa Barbara Channel is also host to the NOAA-managed Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and important marine protected areas.

New USGS mapping

The USGS completed a significant seafloor, habitat, and geology mapping campaign in the Santa Barbara Channel area in collaboration with the California Coastal Conservancy, California Seafloor Mapping Program, California Geological Survey, MMS, NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries, and numerous local stakeholders. Mapping supports an important action item in the West Coast Governors Agreement on Ocean Health and will result in map folios and GIS layers that address numerous coastal zone management issues including: safe navigation and commerce; fisheries management; designation of marine protected areas; sediment management and coastal erosion; sediment and contaminant transport; earthquake and tsunami hazards; impacts of dam removal; documentation of natural oil and gas seeps; and evaluation of sites for offshore infrastructure.

Links to Santa Barbara Channel Research

Small thumbnail of the fact sheet; click to go to official fact sheet page."U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Western Region; Santa Barbara Channel Coastal and Ocean Science" — USGS Fact Sheet 2009-3077

Photograph of a house up on the cliff in Isla Vista, California.United States Geological Survey (USGS)

Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center (PCMSC):

California Water Science Center

Western Ecological Research Center (WERC):

Western Earth Surface Processes (WESP):

Natural Hazards

National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Minerals Management Service (MMS)

California Geological Survey (CGS), State of California Department of ConservationPhoto of kelp.

National Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)

California Department of Fish and Game (DFG)

California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB)

Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI)

County of Santa Barbara Planning and Development: Energy Division


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Page Contact Information: Laura Zink Torresan
Page Last Modified: 21 August 2014 (lzt)