Sable works with his trainer Scott.

Sable the Sewage Sniffing Dog is Coming to Santa Barbara!

Canine scent tracking - or the use of dogs' amazingly sensitive sniffing power - is used routinely for detecting narcotics, explosives, and illegally imported produce.  Dogs are also being tested for detecting several types of cancer - but can they help solve complicated pollution problems?  Canine scent tracking for storm water pollution is in its infancy, but may prove to be a successful approach due to a relatively low cost per sample, and real-time results. 
The Creeks Division was recently awarded a grant from the Water Environment Research Foundation to bring Sable, the first dog ever to be trained for tracking sources of human waste in storm drains, to Santa Barbara! The Creeks Division will collaborate with Sable and his trainer (Scott Reynolds of Environmental Canine Services), along with Dr. Patricia Holden of UCSB, to test canine scent tracking and microbial source tracking (DNA-based techniques) at the same sample locations. 
Sable is a German Shepherd mix obtained from a shelter, and he has been trained to bark when he smells sewage or the surfactants used in laundry detergents.  You can learn more about Sable on his website at  
Sable will be in Santa Barbara the week of June 7th, and the Creeks Division will plan a meet-and-greet event for the community.  Look for the date and location in an upcoming e-News issue.

Volunteers clean-up the beach at Mission Creek.

Thank You Beach Clean-Up Volunteers!

On Wednesday, February 3rd, 134 volunteers showed up at East Beach near Stearns Wharf to pick up trash and debris where Mission Creek enters the ocean.
Thanks to the City’s participation in Disney’s Give a Day, Get a Disney Day program through the Hands On Network, volunteers from Santa Maria to Simi Valley joined Urban Creeks Council and Horny Toad Activewear in their ongoing efforts to keep our beaches clean.
Volunteers of all ages spent the morning picking up everything from small bits of plastic, Styrofoam, and cigarette butts, to larger items like pieces of plywood and part of a boat’s ladder.
Join Urban Creeks Council for a beach clean-up on Saturday, March 13th! Volunteers will meet at 9am on the lawn near Stearns Wharf and the Mission Creek Lagoon. For more information, email or call (805) 968-3000.

Newly Certified Clean Creeks Businesses
Join the Creeks Division in congratulating the following businesses taking important steps to protect creek and ocean water quality by becoming Certified Clean Water Businesses!
Giovanni's Pizza on the Mesa
Mobile Cleaner
Sun Shine Auto Detail
View the complete list of Certified Businesses online at
December 2009 Graduates of the Green Gardener Program.
Creeks Division Sponsors Green Gardener Program
While the Creeks Division does not currently offer a certification program for gardeners, we are a sponsor of the countywide Green Gardener Program.
Gardeners attend a 15-week bilingual (English/Spanish) course through Santa Barbara City College’s Adult Education Program, which covers resource efficient and pollution prevention landscape maintenance practices.
Following successful completion of the course, Green Gardeners are issued a certificate of completion and a Green Gardener card, and they are promoted to the public.
For more information on the program, or to find a Green Gardener, please visit
City of Santa Barbara • PO Box 1990 • Santa Barbara, CA 93102
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