Monday, November 19, 2007

Las Virgenes Creek Restoration

Solving the urban runoff problem:

Undoing the damage caused by concrete "flood control" engineering is no easy task, but the City of Calabasas is doing just that. Driven by a mandate from the Regional Water Quality Control Board to solve an algae problem, and prioritized through watershed and regional planning, this project will provide significant benefits in restoring the natural function of this creek in the Malibu Creek watershed.

The vision for the project is illustrated by the images below. Visit the photo gallery for more.

It is encouraging to see our neighbors in Los Angeles County implementing such a bold vision! Where is the leadership in Ventura County?

Also see story here:

Keynote Speech - Ventura College GIS Day

Friday November 16: Ventura College Annual GIS Conference , a part of World GIS Day. (GIS means Geographic Information System, used to create maps and geographic databases.)

This year the college selected "The Monkey Wrench Gang" as required reading... then invited the local dam decommissioning advocate to speak... ?

This presentation provided an overview of Ecosystem Based Management for the Ventura River bioregion, and incorporated many GIS maps that illustrate the use of the technology to advance the understanding of ecosystem processes.

As a bonus, the Ventura Chapter's GIS guru (and new board member) Cynthia Hartley won First Place in the conference Poster Session with the Ocean Friendly Gardens map that she created of the Ventura urban watershed!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Ventura's Green Initiative

Long way to green

Ventura's Green Initiative is a great step in the right direction and I think one that most citizens of Ventura support. It is clear that being "green" is becoming a popular trend, and I applaud the city for taking a step in this direction.

But becoming a truly "green" city will take much more than recycling or going solar. We need to begin planning for the future, to update our aging infrastructure to mitigate the environmental impacts of our city. Nowhere is this more evident than how we manage and use water.

The city faces pressure on all fronts — water supply, wastewater and storm water. For example, the Ventura River faces increased pressure from overextraction of water, our wastewater treatment plant is the last estuary discharge in the state and our beaches have been listed as impaired by trash and bacteria.

Creative solutions exist to integrate these municipal responsibilities for a sustainable future. The Surfrider Foundation requests that the city implement a meaningful public dialogue in order to generate new ideas and promote partnerships. We need to formulate a "sustainability plan" to provide the road map to where we need to go, to ensure that we do not miss opportunities as redevelopment occurs. And although implementing such a plan will take decades, state and federal grants are available now for water-related projects, and opportunities exist to begin the urban-renewal process now.

We look forward to working as a community for a sustainable future.

Paul Jenkin, Ventura (The writer is with the Ventura County chapter of the Surfrider Foundation. — Editor)

venturacountystar 2007/nov/14/ letters

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Growing the Beaches

On March 30, 2000, the Patagonia/Great Pacific Iron Works store in Ventura was packed with over 200 people for the debut of "Growing the Beaches". At the front of the room sat local political figures and government reps, behind them surfers, local residents, beachgoers, friends and family.

This is now vintage grass-roots...

"Growing the Beaches" was created after I met Robin Chilton, aspiring videographer and surfer, who shared a passion for telling the story. I wanted to convert my "road show," which at the time consisted of an 80-slide tray and projector with my photos and some pieced-together graphics, into a video that could do the work for me... The production was an epic week of sleepless nights and dawn patrols, catching footage of the years best swell but missing a surf, interviews scheduled and scripted, a learning experience... that tells the story.

Sponsored by Patagonia, augmented with lots of volunteer hours, the beginning...

Matilija Dam project authorized by congress

This week the Water Resources Development Act bill, (WRDA), was approved by congress. It's been three years since the Feasibility Study's completion in 2004, and it took an override of the president's veto, but the plan to remove Matilija Dam is now official. There's still a lot of work to do, and it's going to take over $140 million, but project authorization through WRDA is a major milestone toward the restoration of the Ventura River, beginning with the removal of this obsolete dam.

This video illustrates the vision for the future...

To lean more about the dam removal plan, download the Matilija Messenger 7 newsletter here

and see this

Technical References:

Recent press:

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Emma Wood Beach - Agricultural Runoff

Taylor Ranch runoff results in sediment plume and coastal impacts

Recent expansion of agricultural operations on Taylor Ranch, just north of the Ventura River, resulted in significant impacts to the coast. For several weeks in October, runoff from the large field above Highway 101 discharged through a storm drain onto Emma Wood State Beach. The beach was covered in mud several inches thick, and a plume was visible in the ocean extending downcoast through Surfers Point.

Local kiteboarders took these photos on 10/21/07 and sent them to authorities. If you see continuing problems, please take photos and document the impacts - we'll continue to pass the information on to regulators.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Aussie dam tour

Oct 8, 2007

Surfrider Australia representatives Stuart Ball and Chris Tola took an afternoon to visit Matilija Dam during their recent visit to the US. Since the surf was flat, our mates from Down Under enjoyed the 'full immersion' watershed experience.