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.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Much needed rain

The river received a much-needed rain this week. Ojai received over 4inches, and some locations in the mountains recorded almost 10 inches. Good news for farmers, whose wells ran dry sometime around July, forcing them to purchase water from Casitas Municipal Water District. Good news for the river too, as flows were dropping rapidly at the upper end of the 'live reach' near Casitas Springs.

These photos were taken at the San Antonio Creek confluence:

Sept 20, 2009

Oct 13, 2009

and Oct 14, 2009 following the rain.

In the news:

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog Action Day

Today is 'Blog Action Day' - this year's theme: 'Climate Change'

The Ventura Ecosystem project aims to educate local residents and decision makers about adaptation to climate change and implementing solutions to ensure a sustainable future. In the arid climate of Southern California, it's all about water...

Other posts relating to climate change

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Savage Rapids Dam removed

On Oct 9, another dam was removed in Oregon: the the Savage Rapids Dam on the Rogue River.

Water Watch and others worked for more than 2 decades to remove this 39-foot high, 500-foot long irrigation diversion dam. According to Water Watch, the dam has long been considered the biggest fish killer on the Rogue.

Dam removal was accomplished by constructing a coffer dam upstream to divert flows while the concrete dam was demolished. When the coffer dam was breached sediment was flushed naturally downstream. In this case, because of historic operations and limited storage the dam had trapped only 200,000 cubic yards . This volume is roughly equivalent to a 2-year sediment supply from the Rogue River. The reservoir sediments were found to consist of 71 percent sand, 27 percent gravel, and 2 percent silt and clay.

Project Benefits: Removing Savage Rapids Dam will provide important benefits for the Rogue River and local economies, including:
  • 114,000 (estimated) additional adult salmon and steelhead in the Rogue River
  • $5 million/year in additional economic activity for local economies
  • Removal of a major barrier to fish passage and to boating on the Rogue River
  • Permanent protection of significant streamflows in the Rogue River
Cost estimate: $40 milion, with the funds primarily coming from federal government.

Sediment Management: Natural transport

More Information:


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Surfrider's roots

Around 50 people came out last week for our chapter meeting which marked the 25th anniversary of the Surfrider Foundation with a presentation by the organization's founder, Glen Henning:

In the news:

Surfrider Takes Off: The Visionary Surfers of 1984

Twenty-five years ago, Glenn Hening helped light a fire under surfers to get them to fight for the beaches and ocean they loved.

As one of the founders of The Surfrider Foundation the world's largest surfing-based environmental organization, he helped create a generation of activists who were passionate about preserving the places they surfed and the ocean at large.

"I want to give people a sense of where that passion came from and how the organization was put together and what we had to do for the first victory, said Hening, 58, of Oxnard. Those things came from the courage and determination one gains from being a surfer."

Paul Jenkin, environmental director of the Ventura County Surfrider chapter, which is hosting the event, said that kind of enthusiasm is needed.

"It's that kind of passion that gets people going," he said. "It's a very apathetic culture today."

Hening started the group with the idea of creating a way for surfers to respect each other and share their love of the sport.


Friday, October 2, 2009

Surfers' Point funding back on track

The Federal Highway Administration today approved the use of the federal Transportation Enhancement (TE) grant for restoring the bike path and beach at Surfers' Point. This will allow the project to move forward, although groundbreaking will be delayed until early 2010.

'Based on the FHWA’s careful review of the project documents provided by both Caltrans and City of Ventura, and in response to the congressional inquiry by Congresswoman Lois Capps, attached is our agency decision letter with respect to the eligibility of the beach protection and erosion control components of the above-referenced Federal-aid highway project.

We request that Caltrans HQ and Caltrans District 7 facilitate the timely implementation of our decision, given the time sensitivity in the coastal permit conditions for the project.
Thank you to both Caltrans and the City of Ventura for helping us respond to the Congressional Inquiry with a well-informed decision.'

Many thanks to Congresswoman Lois Capps, everyone who wrote letters, State Assemblyman Pedro Nava, and all the state and local staff and political representatives who weighed in on this!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Tsunami info

On Tuesday evening we had a small tsunami, or tidal wave, the result of an 8.0 earthquake in Samoa in the south Pacific.

Although the effect seemed unnoticeable here, someone in the harbor may have detected a change in water elevation of about a foot, with a period of around 15 minutes. A time-lapse camera may have been able to record the event.

Tide gauges around the pacific detected these 'tidal waves' as in this example from Hawaii. Because 'tidal waves' have such a long wavelength, they travel at high speed across the ocean - only 11 hours from Samoa to North America!

From Wikipedia: A tsunami (津波) (pronounced /(t)suːˈnɑːmi/) is a series of water waves (called a tsunami wave train[1]) that is caused by the displacement of a large volume of a body of water, such as an ocean. The original Japanese term literally translates as "harbor wave."