Thursday, December 10, 2009

Winter...




Monday, December 7, 2009

Steelhead rescue plan in the works

On November 19th, NOAA Fisheries hosted a meeting with local water managers, biologists, and other interested people to discuss a 'steelhead rescue plan.' This is in response to ongoing fish strandings throughout the region. This has been an issue in the Ventura River as documented on this blog.

The discussion focused on coordinating communications and actions with NOAA staff responsible for this endangered species.

The Ojai Valley News reported in detail on this meeting here.

Ojai watershed exhibit


The Go Green Ojai! exhibition will feature ways we can live more sustainably in our everyday lives in the Ojai Valley, from auditing our energy, planting trees, supporting our farmers (and home growing food as well), and restoring our wetlands and waterways. There will be a "cutaway" green home exhibit showing alternative energy, building materials, energy sources, landscape features, and more!

The Watershed group has put together a large (6 ft x 8 ft) display that describes our watershed and water supply. Tom Bostrom has single-handedly compiled the graphics and information for this great display. The exhibit will also feature information on 'Ocean Friendly Gardens' and other ways to protect our watershed.

Here is the large poster display before Tom installed it in the Ojai Valley Museum on Friday:



To kick off the exhibit, the Ojai Valley Green Coalition is putting on a reception at the museum on Sunday, December 13 at 4 PM. Guests will have a firsthand look at the displays, enjoy organic appetizers by the Green Coalition's Culinary Club, and celebrate how Ojai's future can...and will...go green. If you are are interested in attending the reception, the cost is $25 per person, and here is a link to make reservations

The exhibit runs from December 10 to February 14, and the museum hours are Thursday and Friday, 1 to 4 PM, Saturday 10 AM to 4 PM, and Sunday, 12 noon to 4 PM.

Westside views Watershed Revolution




Last Wednesday evening I presented Watershed Revolution to the Westside Community Council.



The Westside community lies within the lower Ventura River, and has a vested interest in re-connecting with the river. The community was cut off from the river when the Corps of Engineers levee was constructed in the '50's, and to an even greater extent when Caltrans completed the 4-lane Highway 33.




The Ventura River is an important focus as the westside works on its community development plan. To this end, a student group has been working on a Ventura River Parkway plan, in coordination with Trust for Public Land and with funding from the California Coastal Conservancy.

Unfortunately the state budget crisis delayed this project, but the Ventura River Parkway plan will be presented in early 2010.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Santa Clara River Estuary Special Studies

On November 10, 2009, the City of Ventura hosted a workshop on the Santa Clara River Estuary Special Studies.

BACKGROUND:

The city's sewage treatment plant currently discharges 6.5 MGD (million gallons per day) of tertiary treated wastewater into the Santa Clara River Estuary, and has the capacity for 14 MGD. This is one of the last remaining estuary discharges in the state. Issues associated with this discharge include impacts of nutrient-rich water in the estuary and the artificial hydrology created by this volume of water. With this discharge, the lagoon fills up and breaches on a more frequent basis than it would under natural conditions. The estuary is habitat for a variety of threatened and endangered species, and wastewater flushing into the surf zone affects ocean water quality.

These studies are a requirement of the Regional Water Quality Control Board as a condition of the city's wastewater discharge permit. The aim is to investigate opportunities for enhancement of water quality. Information is available on the city website here.

SPECIAL SUDIES:



The 'Special Studies' include 3 parts:
  • Recycled Water Study
  • Constructed Wetlands Study
  • Estuary Monitoring and Assessment
The wetlands and reuse studies will identify opportunities for diverting water from the discharge point for reuse or creating additional wetlands to remove pollutants.





REUSE STUDY:

The current system reclaims approximately 1 MGD which is reused on the two nearby golf courses and other urban landscaping.

The reuse study looked at potential markets for reclaimed water within a 5 mile radius. Possibilities include urban and agricultural reuse, as well as groundwater recharge.




The bottom line: cost is high to construct a system that would provide for any significant reuse, with estimates from $35M to $140M as summarized in this table.








Major piping and pumping infrastructure is needed to deliver reclaimed water, and agricultural reuse would require an expensive and energy intensive Reverse Osmosis (RO) treatment plant.










WETLAND STUDY:

The city currently operates a series of ponds that help treat the effluent before it enters the estuary. Current effluent nitrate levels are over 15 mg/l. The city is planning on spending $22M at the treatment plant to remove nitrogen to the regulated limit of 10 mg/l.


The study identifies 3 potential sites for additional constructed wetlands. The aim would be to reduce nitrogen from the effluent.





DISCUSSION:

There was discussion after the presentations.

Stakeholders were given an opportunity to place 'dots' on the chart below to express their preference for future discharge scenarios. The 'Volume' axis allows a sliding scale between all 'onsite' discharge as it currently exists, or all 'offsite' through reuse. Enhanced quality infers additional treatment wetlands. It seems the majority prefers enhanced water quality and at least half the volume discharged offsite.



According the the minutes of the meeting, I commented that:

'Would like to see more of the supply side as part of the equation/studies. There should be an integrated (regional) water management plan that could address issues across the board. (Paul Jenkins, Surfrider)'

What was not recorded was my comment that climate change and sea level rise may soon make the current location of the treatment plant infeasible - planning should consider opportunities to decentralize wastewater treatment to facilitate reuse without the need for complex pipelines and pumping systems.

Supply-side analysis should be conducted to consider on-site reuse of greywater throughout the city. For a relatively small investment, a greywater retrofit program would reduce the wastewater volume at the treatment plant, reduce the city's overall water demand, and create lots of local jobs in the process.

The next stakeholder meeting will be in February 2010.

REFERENCES:

The complete presentation and meeting notes are on the city website:
http://www.cityofventura.net/rivers

Other blog posts on this issue:
http://venturaecosystem.blogspot.com/2008/09/letter-on-ventura-water-reclamation.html
http://venturaecosystem.blogspot.com/2007/12/ventura-wastewater-treatment-plant.html
http://venturaecosystem.blogspot.com/search/label/wastewater

Monday, November 30, 2009

Big surf may mean future rains?


Thanksgiving brought another round of waves to Ventura Point. The holiday weekend brought out the crowds too. Large, powerful Pacific swells create a current that sweeps through the pier, a hazard to the inexperienced surfer. According to the newspaper, lifeguards had 22 rescues over Thanksgiving, and even discussed 'closing' the point to surfing.

Winter swells are formed by storms tracking across the Pacific Ocean, blowing gales over a long 'fetch' of open ocean. Whether or not we get rain is dependent on where these storms make landfall. Often a high pressure off the west coast will turn the storms northward, with Portland/Seattle getting all the rain. This high pressure is common in 'La Nina' years.

'El Nino' is the phenomenon that historically brings us rain. Forecasters are predicting that this year may see a 'moderate' El Nino. This means we will likely see 'more consistent and larger surf than has been seen in the past 3+ years, and perhaps better than anything in the last 10+ years.'

But 'moderate' may still result in a storm track that veers north as it approaches the coast. Good weather for surfing, perhaps not so good for farming. Or, if these early swells are any indication, we may see a repeat of 1998 which recorded some of the highest rainfall of the past century.

Lots more info on El Nino at Stormsurf.com

Ojai Groundwater Studies


A recent article in the Ojai Valley News describes a study of the Ojai groundwater basin that recently gained funding from the State Dept of Water Resources (DWR.) The $219,000 grant administered by the Ojai Basin Groundwater Management Agency (OBGMA) will help advance the understanding of how the Ojai groundwater basin works. The study will help plan for water management, especially under the drought conditions that create conflict in the valley.

The project consultant gave an overview of the evolving understanding of the groundwater basin at the October meeting of the Ventura River Watershed Council. These graphics are courtesy of Jordan Kear.


The Ojai valley relies upon groundwater for much of its water supply. Under natural conditions, rainfall soaks into the ground filling in spaces within the soil and rock. This groundwater reserve is called an aquifer. Over 200 wells extract water for agriculture, residential, and other uses such as the two golf courses in the valley.


The modeling effort is aimed at providing a better understanding of how the basin recharges during the short rainy season, and how the many wells interact. With better understanding, it is hoped that well operators may cooperate to enhance the overall basin yield. (When wells run dry, users have to purchase water from Casitas Water District, which provides a backup supply of 254,000 acre-feet in Lake Casitas.)

Since aquifers are often connected to surface water, wells can also reduce flows in nearby rivers and streams, which downstream uses rely upon. So groundwater management is also a critical piece of overall ecosystem-based management for the watershed.

Friday, November 27, 2009

H2O project update

The Know Your H2O project is moving forward. Our chapter helped co-sponsor the creation of a flash-video production that describes the 'Cycle of Insanity' that is our current water management system...



More info on the KYH2O blog linked here

Monday, November 23, 2009

manure solution?

Folks in Ojai have been researching potential solutions to the manure problem.

One big idea is creating marketable products from the waste, and in the process make a big step toward local sustainability. In this case, a BioDigester that would process collected manure and green waste into bioGas for use in vehicles or electricity generation. And the remaining solid waste would provide seed-free nutrients for local agriculture, further offsetting the use of petroleum-based fertilizers in the valley.

The Bio-digestion Plant would provide the following benefits:

  • Local option for disposal
  • Methane is used directly for energy
  • Compost is sterilized
  • Nutrients concentrated in liquid fertilizer
  • Nutrients removed from stormwater runoff
  • Greenhouse gases reduced (less methane released to the air)
  • Less truck traffic/ transportation to disposal sites
  • Reduced demand for fossil fuel energy
  • Reduced demand on landfills
  • Creates local jobs
  • Creates educational example for energy independence and use of local resources
This is not a cheap project, but a local bioGas generation plant could solve multiple social and economic problems - the 'triple bottom line' of "people, planet, profit"

A UC Davis program has demonstrated the feasibility of the technology in partnership with Onsite Power Systems

more here:




Seems like a big opportunity for a smart investor... Others in Ventura County are already doing this, and winning awards while making money in the process: http://www.vcstar.com/news/2009/nov/18/toland-road-landfill-making-money-and-energy/

For more information on the Ojai project please contact Bill O'Brien/Phil Sherman 805-658-6611

the manure problem

Horses are a way of life in the Ojai Valley, but the waste they generate has long been recognized as a potential water quality problem. The issue is nutrient-rich manure that is often disposed of adjacent to or sometimes in the creeks throughout the watershed. This elevates nitrogen levels in the water, which leads to excess algae. See previous blog post here.

A preliminary survey was recently conducted to evaluate the scale of the problem. The results were submitted in a memo to the Regional Water Quality Control Board who are currently considering regulatory approaches for the Algae TMDL.

According to the memo, the study was based on information from horse owners, site visits to the main horse locations, and well known horse locations. Based on this survey, there were 62 horses counted within the City limits of Ojai. And valleywide, excluding the upper Ojai Valley, the numbers shown on this map total 792 horses.
The memo further states:

It is believed that considerably more horses could be located with a more detailed survey. A more detailed survey would take many field trips and review of aerial photography. The detailed survey should yield at least twice the number horses shown in this preliminary survey. Many of the horses that are not yet counted will likely be on locations with 1-5 horses. Funding for a detailed survey has yet to be obtained.
At this time, the best estimate for total horses in the Ojai Valley (excluding the upper Ojai Valley) is 2000-3000 horses. If each horse has 30 lbs/day of solid waste*, that equates to 30-45 tons/day of horse manure.

*A 1,000 lb horse produces about 31 lbs of feces and 2.4 gallons of urine daily, which totals 51 lbs of waste per day. Pennsylvania State College of Agriculture Sciences study “Horse Stable Manure Management”

Ventura River Watershed Protection Project


Ventura River Watershed Protection Project (V1)

This is a $2.1 million project that includes several components:
  • Formation of a Watershed Council, drawn from diverse local stakeholders, to address resource issues facing the watershed and to act as the decision-making body for plan development and project implementation;
  • Compilation of published materials related to the watershed in order to form a single database and to identify gaps in information;
  • Development of a watershed characterization baseline planning document utilizing already existing studies and initiating specific new studies as needed to give a picture of the watershed and its needs;
  • Identification of problem areas within the watershed with preliminary suggestions on how to best address them;
  • Development of an action plan to set priorities for implementation of project solutions for identified problems; and
  • Development of mechanisms to keep the public aware of the progress and implementation of the protection plan.
One of the primary efforts is the Ventura River HSPF Modeling Project. This is a computer model under development by Tetra Tech consultants. According to reports, 'The Ventura County Watershed Protection District has contracted with Tetra Tech to develop a hydrologic model for the Ventura River watershed, using EPA’s Hydrologic Simulation Program – FORTRAN (HSPF) model. The work, funded under a Proposition 50 grant, will result in the completion of a Baseline (existing condition) hydrologic model as well as a Natural Condition scenario. These model runs can be used to support a variety of water availability and storm flow analyses. In addition, the hydrologic model will provide a platform for future modeling of water quality constituents in the Ventura River.'

More info and documents are available here

BACKGROUND: In November 2002, California voters approved Proposition 50. This legislation provides $500 million in water-related grants. In 2008, the Watersheds Coalition of Ventura County was awarded a $25 million grant. More info: Prop 50 Implementation Grant

San Antonio Creek Spreading Grounds



San Antonio Creek Spreading Grounds Rehabilitation Project (V-2)

BACKGROUND
The 'spreading grounds' historically existed to recharge groundwater in the Ojai basin using water delivered through the Matilija Conduit from Matilija reservoir. This was the primary intent of Matilija Dam when constructed in 1948, but the practice was discontinued with the construction of Casitas reservoir in 1956.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION
This project would rehabilitate the historic spreading grounds to enhance groundwater recharge using water diverted from upper San Antonio Creek below Senior Canyon. The project includes construction of recharge wells, as well as a monitoring well.

PROJECT GOALS
• Diversion of a portion of the precipitation that is typically lost from within the San Antonio Creek Sub-Watershed to the rehabbed spreading grounds using project facilities.
• Increase the groundwater recharge and storage in the Ojai Valley Groundwater Basin (OVGB), thereby enhancing the reliability of production from local water supply wells.
• Reduce local reliance on already-limited surface water supplies from the Casitas Municipal Water District (CMWD.)




A stakeholder group inclusive of the Ojai Basin Groundwater Management Agency, the Ojai Water Conservation District, the Golden State Water Company, the Casitas Municipal Water District, and the Ventura County Watershed Protection District is working cooperatively to complete this groundwater recharge and supply project.



The $1.4 Million project is funded by the combination of a $1.3 Million Prop 50 Implementation Grant from the State of California and approximately $100,000 in local match contributions from the five stakeholders.

Watersheds Coalition website

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Ventura OK's development plan

Despite the many red flags, Ventura City Council unanimously voted on Monday night to approve the Saticoy-Wells Community Plan EIR. This issue was delayed when water managers objected: city-plans-threaten-aquifers

1: Concerns with water supply were justified by a 'tolling agreement' between the City and Fox Canyon Groundwater Management Agency and United Water Conservation District. The tolling agreement would postone any legal action against the city until July 1, 2010, giving time to test the well in question to determine if it would in fact affect groundwater supplies as the water agencies suggest.

2: Flooding concerns were answered in a last-minute e-mail from Ventura County Watershed Protection District.

3. As highlighted by Councilmember Morehouse, this plan was completed after 3 major developments in the planning area have already been approved.



The figures shown here were submitted as comments on the EIR from the East Ventura Community Council. They illustrate the variability in the City's water supply, and vulnerability to drought. Note that the Ventura River/Casitas supply makes up a significant portion.

The City's water supply as outlined in the General Plan and used in this EIR is based upon wet years. A drought as short as 3 years may limit supply to as little as 60% of normal. This is what adjacent water managers mean when they write that, "We believe as described above the City's assumptions and estimates for future water supplies may be over estimated."

And as predictably as the City outgrows its water supply, our rivers will surely get drier.




City Council meeting agenda, minutes, and video for Nov 16, 2009 are online here.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

SA Creek Bridge



OJAI VALLEY TRAIL BRIDGE AT SAN ANTONIO CREEK

Ventura County Parks Department is planning to construct a bridge at the confluence of San Antonio Creek and the Ventura River. Funding would come from state and federal salmonid restoration grants.

This project will enhance the bike trail as well as improve fish passage up San Antonio Creek.


The project consists of the replacement of the Ojai Valley Trail culvert crossing with a bridge at
San Antonio Creek, including removal of the existing culverts and associated fill, construction of the bridge and site restoration. Based on conceptual plans developed to date, the bridge would have an overall length of 790 feet, including approach ramps. The bridge span would be approximately 510 feet. The bridge deck elevation would be at about 323 feet, about 10 to 12 feet higher than the existing trail surface elevation. The bridge would be designed to support pedestrians and bicycles, and occasional light-weight patrol vehicles (golf cart-sized). The bridge approach ramp grade would be 5 percent or less to meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.


This diagram was included in our comment letter, suggesting that moving the bridge a short distance up SA Creek (yellow line) would allow for a shorter bridge and eliminate future impacts at the bend in the river. We also wrote that biologists documented significant numbers of fish in the pool this year, and realignment of the river should minimize dewatering downstream pools (red line.)

We also suggested that this project should be coordinated with other objectives, including
  • Water Infrastructure Upgrade/Relocation
  • Bike trail realignment into oak woodland
  • Equestrian trail realignment/management plan to reduce impacts
  • Levee removal – northern 300 ft(?) is obsolete
  • Riparian Restoration/ floodplain enhancement/steelhead habitat creation
A Public Hearing will be held Nov 24, 2009 at 10:30 am at the County Board of Supervisors.
For more information contact project manager Theresa Lubin 805-654-3968

Monday, November 9, 2009

Volunteers work on Ojai creek


Over 20 volunteers came out on Saturday for the kickoff of a well-planned collaboration to restore a section of the Ojai Creek. On the first three Saturdays of this month, the riparian corridor that meanders through Libbey Park will be restored and enhanced through removal of invasive non-native plants.

The project will improve the creek’s flow and reestablish a functioning wetland and riverbank ecosystem to support a diversity of fish and wildlife species.

The Ojai Creek Restoration Project is a collaboration of the Ojai Valley Green Coalition under the leadership of conservation biologist and Watershed Committee Chair Brian Holly, and of representatives from the C.R.E.W, the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy, BioResource Consultants, Inc., and Glenn Hawks and Associates, along with numerous other volunteers.

Members of the community are invited to participate on any or all of three consecutive Saturdays starting on November 7 - 9:30 a.m. at the Libbey Park Gazebo.

For more info contact Brian Holly - beholly@gmail.com


In the news:
http://www.vcstar.com/news/2009/nov/21/reworking-the-creek-ojai-crew-to-replant-libbey/

Salmon Run supports Matilija Coalition



16th Annual Salmon Run – 5K Run/3K Walk

Sunday November 8 - Around 400 runners and walkers turned out for the annual 'Fun Run' event sponsored and organized by our good friends at Patagonia. This year's proceeds benefit the Matilija Coalition, a program started in 2000 by the Ventura County Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation to focus attention on the removal of Matilija Dam.

More here: http://www.patagonia.com/web/us/patagonia.go?sssdmh=dm23.117360&assetid=15737&src=store_event

The money raised from the event will directly support steelhead surveys in the Ventura River. Ongoing monitoring is a critical piece of the efforts to restore the river. (We have also applied for another grant from the California Department of Fish and Game for next year's study.)

Here is the short overview of the Matilija Coalition and the Ventura River:


Award winner!





'Watershed Revolution' won 'Best Short Documentary' in the Ojai-Ventura International Film Festival this weekend.

Apart from the fact that it was great to see our film played in a real theater, Watershed Revolution also received a great response from attendees of the film festival.

Each showing was followed by audience question and answer. The number one question - "When will Matilija Dam come down?"


photo: Co-Producers Rich Reid and Paul Jenkin at the Ojai Theater after Sunday night's showing.

Press: Ojai Valley News

Friday, November 6, 2009

Ojai Film Festival


Watershed Revolution will be featured in the Ojai – Ventura International Film Festival this weekend.

Our film will be screening twice during the event in Ojai:

Saturday, November 7, 5:30 pm at Matilija Auditorium
Sunday, November 8, 3:00 pm at Ojai Theater

Individual tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door, and you can purchase a 4 or 6 pack of tickets online.

Watershed Revolution is a locally produced film that asks the question, “What is a watershed?” The answer is explored through interviews with people working to protect and preserve the Ventura River, while stunning high definition cinematography brings to life the beauty of the river.

The 30-minute film profiles community members and organizations working to protect and restore our watershed. It highlights the need for open space and floodplain protection, sustainable agriculture, and community awareness of our most precious resource: water.

“We are honored to be accepted to the Ojai Film Festival, an internationally recognized event,’ said Rich Reid, producer of the film. “This also provides an opportunity for those who missed the premiere screenings this summer to view the film and participate in the discussions.”

For more about the film and our watershed please visit www.watershedrevolution.com

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Steelhead Revival



Over 120 people attended the Steelhead Revival presentation yesterday at Patagonia headquarters in Ventura. The event was organized by Matt Stoecker and Mauricio Gomez to provide an overview of the federally endangered southern steelhead trout and highlight efforts to restore this magnificent, iconic species to our local watersheds.

This event, fourth in a series, focused on the Santa Clara and Ventura River watersheds, both of which drain to the ocean in the city of Ventura. Matt provided a lively overview of the species, a presentation filled with photos and video that brought the fish to life. Matt also highlighted some of the recent progress made in our region with removal of small barriers that have reopened upstream habitat critical to the recovery of this endangered species.

I was invited to provide an update on the work of the Matilija Coalition, a program that has benefited from the support of Patagonia since 2000. I gave a brief overview of Matilija Dam and the steelhead monitoring that we have been sponsoring for the past 2 years.

The Q&A included much discussion of the Matilija Dam removal project, and the current impass on sediment management. There was interest in the before and after 'vision' for Matilija canyon, an image that has been integral to the planning process. This is also posted in video format here


If you missed it, there are two more events coming up:

November 7, 3:30 pm, Arroyo Hondo Preserve – Gaviota Coast
In coordination with the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County, this presentation will focus on theGaviota Coast (Jalama to Goleta) Watersheds.

November 19, 7:30 pm, Solvang Library, 1745 Mission Drive
In coordination with the Santa Ynez Valley Natural History Society, this presentation will focus
on the Santa Ynez River Watershed.

For additional information and specifics on upcoming events please contact:
Matt Stoecker matt@stoeckerecological.com or Mauricio Gomez mgomez@schabitatrestoration.org.

Many thanks to Patagonia for making this series of events possible.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Ventura Experiment

The Ventura Experiment
Wednesday, Oct 28th - The Green Coalition of Ventura County

A student group from the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at UCSB presented their project which will feature Ventura as a model city working to reduce community carbon emissions. The goals of the study are to determine what to do, how to do it, and how much it will cost.

Around the world a selection of “Pioneer Cities” are undergoing similar projects. Ventura will be linked to Wuxi, a city on the Yangtse River in China. The group in Ventura on Wednesday night included a student from China, who also presented some insights from his country.

The study will have three steps. Bren students will evaluate our carbon footprint as a community. They will design a menu of strategies for reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. Then they will develop a feasibility analysis of the political and economic factors of our community. In addition to a set of recommendations for Ventura they hope to create a toolkit adoptable to other communities.

Of note was a 'wordle' taken from their initial work. (Wordles are like the label cloud on this blog, or this.) In this case, Water turned out to be the primary word. The group discussed how low flow shower heads and other water conservation measures can reduce carbon emissions - yes, saving water reduces energy used in pumping and heating the water we use on a daily basis.

The project web page has a wealth of information on the project and references on technologies and strategies. We can look for the results in the spring of 2010.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

DFG Grant proposal


On Monday Oct 19, I presented a proposal for steelhead monitoring to the Tri-county Fish Team and Department of Fish and Game (DFG) representatives. The Matilija Coalition would like to use a Fisheries Restoration Grant to support two years of comprehensive monitoring to compliment the studies that began in 2003 with habitat assessment for the Matilija Dam Ecosystem Restoration project. We have cobbled together DFG and Patagonia funding to support the program for the past 2 years.

The objective of these studies is to establish baseline conditions prior to dam removal and contribute information on the variability of populations for the Steelhead Recovery Planning process.

The key scientific question is the variation in annual populations in the drought-and-flood climate of Southern California, and the ultimate response of fish populations to a large-scale watershed restoration project such as dam removal.

Port Orford EBM Conference


West Coast EBM Network 2nd Annual Meeting was held October 21‐23, 2009 in Port Orford, Oregon.

The primary objectives of the meeting were to learn about the Port Orford project in depth and share ideas and opportunities on emerging issues.

Port Orford is one of six community-based initiatives focused on the successful implementation of ecosystem-based management (EBM) along the coasts of Washington, Oregon and California. The Network was formally organized in 2008 (visit the website to learn more about the other projects, including Ventura.)

Having the opportunity to visit these sites and meet the people involved in these community efforts is always interesting. In Port Orford, their effort has resulted in the Port Orford Ocean Resource Team (POORT.)

POORT aims to protect their historic fishing grounds through integrated management of a Community Stewardship Area. The knowledge of the local fishermen was used to identify the marine portion of the ecosystem that were most relevant to the management goals. However, POORT also recognized the necessity to include the upland watershed terrestrial portions of their ecosystem that impact the marine portion and associated nearshore fisheries. As a result, their ecosystem planning area also includes roughly ¼ land area and ¾ ocean area.

The specific boundaries of the Community Stewardship Area were based on input gathered at public meetings and workshops in Port Orford. The primary considerations were socioeconomic (e.g., historic fishing grounds) and political (e.g., north and south boundaries are halfway between adjacent ports).

The Port Orford Community Stewardship Area is biologically diverse and encompasses terrestrial, freshwater, intertidal, and ocean environments. The Community Stewardship Area is 1,320 square miles, and includes 385 square
miles of terrestrial habitat and 935 square miles of ocean habitat. The area is 30 miles long (north to south), extends 18 miles offshore (west), and encompasses the Elk and Sixes River watersheds.