Thursday, April 9, 2009

Tour of Ojai Meadows Preserve

The April meeting of the Ventura County Task Force of the Southern California Wetlands Recovery Project was a site tour of the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy’s restoration work at the Ojai Meadows Preserve.

The Ojai Meadows Preserve is a 58-acre site of valley and live oak, grasslands and wetlands. Over the past several years the OVLC has been working to restore the preserve as closely as possible to its native state by expanding the wetland, planting additional oaks, and reintroducing native grasses. The long-term objectives of the project include providing better habitat for wetland birds, raptors and other wildlife species and reducing flooding on the highway and adjacent property.

Derek Poultney, the OVLC’s project manager at the Preserve, led us on a tour of the Meadows and discussed the various components of the project, including restoration of the hydrology on the site, the work of consultants and volunteers, trail improvements, creation of swales and vernal pools, and restoration of native riparian, oak savannah and coastal sage scrub habitats.

Derek pointed out that this property was once slated to become a shopping mall, in which case all stormwater would have been directed into an underground storm drain system.

Listen as he describes the hydrologic and water quality benefits of this wetland restoration project:

(...hear those happy redwing blackbirds!)

Note: this is the Happy Valley Drain downstream of the preserve, that Derek describes as 'very artificial and undersized for the watershed'