An assessment of the fishes and mega-invertebrates that inhabit Platform Holly and its associated structures is a necessary evaluation for the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review process that will inform decisionmakers and the public about the existing environment and potential effects of decommissioning. The most recent observations from 2011 and previous recurrent surveys conducted by our laboratory at UCSB and outlined in the section “Previous Studies” below indicate that Platform Holly supports a unique and rich marine biodiversity for its location.
Several decommissioning alternatives will be considered during the CEQA review. One is the full removal and deconstruction of Platform Holly and associated structures. Alternatives to that action may include reefing the platform by partial removal and/or leaving associated structures, such as seep tents and pipelines, in place. An environmental evaluation of Platform Holly will benefit the assessment of decommissioning and the alternatives that CSLC will consider as well as provide a basis for future monitoring, if warranted. Completion of the effort described below in the section “Research Tasks for Platform Holly Decommissioning EIR” will inform the CEQA document of the current marine populations, comparison to past populations, and severity of the potential impacts from decommissioning alternatives. The Net Environmental Benefit Analysis described in the section “Platform Reefing Assessment” will provide a pro/con benefit analysis for decommissioning scenarios for Platform Holly that will assist CSLC decision making, public understanding of CSLC decisions, and provide data for cooperative management of coastal resources.