On March 5th 2011, Ventura River Stream Team volunteers spent a Saturday morning mapping trash in the Ventura River estuary. The estimated 200 people living in the river-bottom generate a tremendous amount of waste - both 'trash' and human waste.
It is clear that this is a severe problem that directly impacts water quality in the estuary and the heavily used beaches near the rivermouth (i.e. Surfers' Point)
During this event, thirteen volunteers inspected public lands on the eastern floodplain of theVentura River from the Highway 101 bridge to the Pacific Ocean. Over the course of only twohours, volunteers located and documented over 35 dump sites containing human waste,garbage, chemicals, and active and abandoned campsites. Channelkeeper has compiled theresults of this survey in a photographic report that is available on our website (www.sbck.org).
Most of the waste identified during our survey has accumulated since the same area wastargeted by City cleanup efforts last August. In fact, according to the City of Ventura, over 55tons of garbage have already been removed from the Ventura River over the past three years.As our report demonstrates, however, waste continues to be generated at an alarming rate. We note that the condition of these sites has likely changed dramatically since theseobservations were recorded. On the weekend of March 19th and 20th, a significant rainfallevent occurred during which the river’s elevation rose dramatically,enough to flood the occupied stream banks, stranding homeless residents and requiringemergency helicopter evacuations. Neither Channelkeeper staff nor Stream Teamvolunteers have re‐visited these sites since these observations were recorded, but waste frommany of these sites likely washed downstream onto the beach and into the ocean.
...We also believe that without an additional focus on long‐term preventative solutions, that the Responsible Parties participating in the Ventura River Trash Total Maximum Daily Load program will continue to be unable to meet mandatory limits established to protect water quality.
The complete report, including dozens of photos like those shown here, may be downloaded from the SBCK website here: http://sbck.org/
Paul Jenkin is the Environmental Director of the Ventura County Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, and founder of the Matilija Coalition. The Surfrider Foundation is an international environmental organization dedicated to the protection and enhancement of the world’s waves and beaches through conservation, activism, research, and education (CARE).
Since 1994, Paul has worked to restore the coast and watershed where he lives, in Ventura, California.