On Thursday February 28, 2008, the California Ocean Protection Council toured the Ventura River Watershed. The tour began at the Ventura County Government Center where the Watershed Protection District gave a short presentation describing the Matilija Dam Ecosystem Restoration project. The council members were then treated to a helicopter flight over the watershed, offering aerial views of the river and Matilija Dam. Vans transported other participants to the dam, where short presentations were given over a picnic lunch. Matilija Dam is slated for removal in 2013, and the project has been endorsed by the Ocean Protection Council and largely funded by the California Coastal Conservancy. The tour gave an opportunity for these policy makers to experience the dam and river for themselves.
The next stop was the beach at the mouth of the river, where Ventura City Councilman Brian Brennan gave an overview of the Surfers Point Managed Retreat project. The final design for this project is almost complete, and with funding construction could begin this year.
Finally, the group took a look at the Sanjon outfall at San Buenaventura State Beach. This site has been identified as an impairment to coastal water quality, a problem that we believe can be solved. Surfrider's proposal for wetlands and urban watershed restoration at this site was met with great interest, as it provides an integrated approach to stormwater management.
Tour participants were also invited to an after-hours reception at Jonathan's in downtown Ventura. We hope our guests learned the reasons we love this area, and why we are dedicated to protecting and restoring our coast and watershed.