Cristal's Blog


June 1, 2023

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As one of California's most renowned and picturesque coastal regions, Santa Barbara is cherished for its stunning beaches, diverse marine life, and natural wonders. Amidst this beauty lies a nonprofit organization working diligently to preserve and protect the Santa Barbara Channel: Santa Barbara Channelkeeper. Let’s delve into the invaluable contributions made by this remarkable group, and explore the critical role they play in safeguarding the environmental integrity of the region.

A group of volunteers on the beach with a pile of trash, waving and holding a banner reading Santa Barbara Channelkeeper
In April, volunteers with Channelkeeper's Watershed Brigade cleared more than 800 pounds of lobster traps from local beaches during the organization's annual lobster trap cleanup in collaboration with the Commercial Fishermen of Santa Barbara.

The Mission of The Santa Barbara Channelkeeper

Founded in 1999, Santa Barbara Channelkeeper is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting and restoring the Santa Barbara Channel and its watersheds. Their mission is to enforce environmental laws and advocate for clean water while promoting sustainable use and enjoyment of the region's water resources. By combining grassroots efforts, advocacy, and legal action, the organization has become a prominent force in conserving and preserving the Santa Barbara environment. In addition, thanks to Santa Barbara Chennelkeeper’s raising awareness, enforcing environmental laws, and fostering collaborations, our precious coastal region's long-term health and sustainability is ensured.

Woman in a jacket and baseball cap taking a plankton sample with an instrument takes plankton readings
Penny Owens, Education and Outreach Director, takes a plankton sample to send to the California Department of Health. Channelkeeper conducts regular plankton tows to help monitor algal blooms in the Santa Barbara Channel.

Water Quality Monitoring and Restoration Efforts

One of the key initiatives undertaken by Santa Barbara Channelkeeper is water quality monitoring. The organization conducts regular sampling and analysis of water bodies, including rivers, creeks, and the ocean, to assess pollution levels and identify potential sources of contamination. Through their comprehensive monitoring programs, they ensure that our waterways are safe for both human and marine life.

In addition to monitoring, the group and its supporters actively engage in restoration projects to improve the health of the Santa Barbara Channel. They collaborate with government agencies, educational institutions, and local communities to restore habitats, mitigate pollution, and reduce sediment runoff. In addition, Channelkeeper helps preserve the biodiversity and resilience of the region's marine environment by restoring critical ecosystems, such as kelp forests and coastal wetlands.

High school volunteers with Santa Barbara Channelkeeper waist-deep  in a lagoon with lush greenery along the bank monitoring the water quality
In-the-field environmental education. High school students learn about water quality monitoring first-hand with fieldwork in the Ventura River.

Advocacy and Public Education

Staff and members of the Santa Barbara Channelkeeper believe in the power of education and community involvement to effect lasting change. Therefore, the organization conducts outreach programs, educational workshops, and public awareness campaigns to engage and inform the community about the importance of clean water and responsible environmental stewardship. Through these initiatives, they empower individuals to become advocates for the Santa Barbara’s ecosystem.

The nonprofit also actively advocates at the local, state, and federal levels to promote policies and regulations that protect the region's water resources. They collaborate with other environmental organizations, participate in public hearings, and support legislation that aims to safeguard our environment, ensuring that policymakers prioritize the long-term health of the region's waters.

Collaborations and Partnerships

Recognizing the importance of collaboration and partnerships in achieving their conservation goals, the nonprofit works closely with government agencies, businesses, educational institutions, and other nonprofit organizations to maximize their impact. By forging strong alliances, Channelkeeper leverages resources, shares expertise, and strengthens their ability to protect the Santa Barbara Channel.

The organization's collaborations extend to citizen science programs, where volunteers actively participate in data collection and monitoring efforts. This approach not only increases the organization's reach but also fosters a sense of ownership and responsibility within the community towards their local environment.

The Bottom Line

Santa Barbara Channelkeeper has emerged as a vital force in protecting the ecological integrity of Santa Barbara watersheds. Through their tireless efforts in water quality monitoring, restoration projects, advocacy, and public education, the organization has made significant contributions towards preserving this treasured coastal region. Their commitment to ensuring clean water, promoting sustainable practices, and fostering community engagement serves as an inspiration for environmental conservation efforts worldwide.

Together, We Can Make a Difference

Remember, our coast is not just a beautiful backdrop; it’s a fragile ecosystem that requires our collective commitment to preservation. So let us stand alongside Santa Barbara Channelkeeper and become champions of this remarkable coastal gem. Whether it's supporting fundraising events, participating in beach cleanups, or spreading awareness about responsible water usage, every individual can make a difference. Together, we can safeguard the natural wonders of Santa Barbara for future generations to enjoy.

If you're considering moving within or to Santa Barbara, your current or future presence here has undoubtedly been influenced by the beauty and health of our watershed. I urge you to support Santa Barbara Channelkeeper while searching for your new home or home away from home. Check out my portfolio of fine homes in the area. See something you like? I invite you to give me a call at (805) 886-9378 or email me at for a free consultation. I will happily add your listing to my portfolio of impressive estates for sale and find you a new home simultaneously.

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Client Reviews

“It was an emotional experience selling our mother’s home in Montecito that we all loved so much but Cristal made the process easier on our whole family by guiding us through the transaction every step of the way. She knows the market so well and everything she recommended was on point including the asking price, painting, and staging the home, which looked beautiful and helped the buyer envision her new home. We sold it the first day it hit the market with an offer above asking! Cristal did an incredible job communicating with us and the buyer to ensure that the transaction would run smoothly. We highly recommend using Cristal, she was a pleasure to work with! ”

- J & A

“Cristal is a pleasure to work with! Her knowledge of the local real estate market coupled with her amazing listening skills resulted in her showing us an array of homes that were all excellent choices. Her low-pressure patient attitude made us feel extremely comfortable with the whole process. I cannot recommend her highly enough.”

- M.F.

“Cristal Clarke is #1 in her field - and you don't become #1 by luck. Cristal works harder, and longer, and with more charm and patience than any real estate agent I have ever worked with in the past; her calendar has no weekend, her days have no clocks, her only concern is selling your property as soon as possible and for the best price on the market. Am I a fan? You bet!”

- P.B.

“We have used Cristal now several times and cannot express how grateful we are for her expertise, dedication, and unwavering support throughout the entire home-buying process. Cristal is knowledgeable, patient and attentive. Her attention to detail is remarkable, and she consistently went above and beyond to provide us with all the information and resources we needed to make informed decisions. Cristal is a skillful negotiator and advocate. She can navigate complex negotiations with professionalism and grace and felt like a true partner to us in the home-buying process. Cristal has a genuine passion for real estate and a deep commitment to her clients' satisfaction. I cannot speak highly enough of Cristal and her exceptional service. She is a true expert in her field and her dedication to excellence, combined with unwavering support is the reason we choose to work with her for all our real estate buying needs.”

- T.C.

“Cristal is a top-notch realtor who sold my home before it ever went on the market. I had two competing offers that enabled me to get top dollar for my home. Not only is Cristal superb but her team is extraordinary. I cannot say enough about Cristal and her team. They are simply phenomenal, the consummate professionals, who took care of every possible detail, making the sale and transition period, smooth from our end. They are also lovely, caring people, who knew all the right professionals, to get the job done. Thank you, everyone!”

- D.R.

“I could list lots of cool adjectives to describe Cristal. All good by the way. But, that is not why I or anyone should hire Cristal. My reason for hiring her, which proved to be correct, is very simple. She got the job done. And, she does it time and time again and with zero issues. And, that is why she is one of the top agents in the country. End of subject. ”

- M.A.

“Working with Cristal was a complete pleasure. Cristal was extremely patient with us as we evaluated nearly 2 dozen homes over a span of 2 years. Her knowledge of the market is unmatched. Cristal provided us with exceptional counsel as we evaluated opportunities and negotiated pricing. The closing process was handled thoroughly and efficiently. We could not be happier with our purchase and even more happy to now call Cristal our friend.”

- D.K.

“Cristal Clarke has conducted numerous real estate transactions for me beginning 13 years ago with the purchase of a Lemon Ranch. She has handled both large and small purchases and sales with equal dedication. As a negotiator, you can’t find anyone better. Her transactions are always conducted in the most appropriate and professional manner. Cristal has considerable knowledge of the Santa Barbara market.”

- S.N. Decker Ph.D.

“Living in Europe, we were to say the least, unaccustomed to the nuances of Real Estate acquisition in California and Cristal steered us through the process with absolute professionalism and personal attention to detail at every turn. Her in-depth knowledge of the market place combined with enthusiasm and drive was the only reason we secured the property of our dreams and will be forever grateful. If you are looking for personal discrete and private representation of the highest quality we suggest you look no further than Cristal Clarke.”

- Johan and Paula van den Berg

“Cristal is very straightforward, cheerful, helpful, professional and trustworthy….we felt very lucky to work with her.”

- John and Lacey Williams

“After considering our many choices, we are grateful it was Cristal Clarke of Sotheby’s International who represented the sale of our Montecito cottage. We are familiar with Cristal’s reputation of hard work and dedication to clients, but it was her attention to detail that made our experience so positive. She offered suggestions for staging the property, worked in harmony with potential buyers and was even able to secure back up offers. The sale of our cottage was completed much sooner than we expected, due in great part to Cristal’s professional skills and support. We highly recommend Cristal as a first choice for anyone needing representation with real estate.”

- Michael & Nancy Lee

“Our experience in working with Cristal Clarke resulted in the successful and discrete acquisition of a property which was not yet on the open market. Her knowledge of the Montecito/Santa Barbara area and vast expertise blended with her passion for real estate and architecture, provided us with the very highest level of professionalism and personalized services. Cristal exhibited a rare combination of excellent communications, attention to detail, creativity and patience.”

- Richard and Catherine Frinier

“Cristal really breaks the mold. She knows every nook and cranny of this real estate market, understands value, and follows up on everything, all the time. She was incredibly patient with our two year quest to find the perfect house. Every house hunting trip from across the country was well planned, and our time was never wasted. On top of her professionalism and expertise, she is delightful to spend time with. We are thrilled with the home we purchased, and grateful to Cristal for so wisely advising us through this process, right through to the close and beyond.”

- Laurie Siegel

“We met Cristal first in the course of renting a winter home (for three years), then buying a house using her as our agent. She was amazingly good at listening to our wants and showing us homes that fit our needs. Her mastery of the paperwork was perfect. Most importantly, there was never a situation where we doubted her straightforwardness or integrity. If we do another real estate transaction in Montecito (which I doubt, we’re happy with what we purchased), without question we’d use Cristal again.”

- Ken Saffir

“Susan and I just want to thank you for your efforts in the sale of our home. You are really quite amazing. Your competence, persistence, optimism and humor made the entire process effortless. Every problem that arose, you somehow fixed; any obstacle, you overcame. We have bought and sold many homes. It has never been such a painless and enjoyable process!”

- Michael & Susan Marquart

“A little something about “our” realtor, Cristal Clarke. My wife and I came to Santa Barbara about fifteen years ago looking for a seasonal home from which to enjoy the weather and amenities of the central coast. Being in the real estate business myself I was familiar with agents and brokers so entered the market with open eyes. We “flipped” a few houses in the early years, dealing with various agents and finally ended up in Montecito. That’s when good fortune put us together with Cristal. To say we were impressed is to put it mildly. Cristal really knows the market. She is familiar with the area, its history and trends. When we have questions about a particular property she either has the answers immediately or gets back to us by phone or email. There is no waiting or wondering with Cristal. She is an agent who is “on top of it.” Her recommendations as to price points, contractors, inspectors and title agents have proven to be exceptional, showing great insight and the highest professional standards. We consider ourselves exceedingly fortunate to say that Cristal Clarke is our realtor and would recommend her services to any serious buyer or seller.”

- Rob & Judi Kelch