Friday, April 30, 2010

Protest New Oil Drilling

Saturday: Paddle Out Against Paradon

The protest is against a NEW oil facility proposed for the Carpinteria bluffs near the sea lion rookery. Venoco has placed a measure on the June ballot for Carp residents that would enable them to bypass all normal health and safety reviews by getting the uninformed public to vote for it: Measure J. More here:

Meanwhile, the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is out of control, and threatens the Mississippi River delta with yet another major disaster:

This still has not been contained, and has the potential to exceed the scale of the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

more here:

Monday, April 26, 2010

Watershed U presentation

Thursday April 22, 2010 - Watershed U. Session 1

Over 150 participants showed up for the first Watershed U - Ventura event last Thursday. The evening included a series of presentations intended to give an overview of Watershed U and our Ventura River watershed.

County Supervisor Steve Bennett started the evening with a greeting. This was followed by a traditional Chumash blessing from Julie Tumamait-Stenslie, elder and leader of the Barbareno/Ventureno Band of
Mission Indians.

Sabrina Drill, UC Cooperative Extension, presented 'What is a Watershed, and What is Watershed U.?'

Russ Baggerly Casitas Municipal Water District gave a short talk, and served as the Board Moderator.

After a short break, Dr Ed Keller, UC Santa Barbara, gave a great overview of the Geography/Geology of the Ventura River. He stressed the hazards from earthquake and flooding in our geologic and hydrologically unique region.

The final presentation was 'The Big Picture - Water Supply, Land Use, and Water Quality in the Ventura River Watershed.' The presentation first stressed the need for a better understanding of our water supply. It then described the connections between Land Use and Water Quality, and the need for 'restoration hydrology' or what I have termed 'reverse hydromodification.'

Presentations and useful links from the session are here

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Matilija Dam poster

In preparation for Ojai Earth Day event this weekend, and the Watershed U program on Matilija Dam next month, we have designed this poster to help describe the Matilija Dam Ecosystem Restoration Project. These project components reflect the consensus plan that was approved in the Feasibility Study completed in 2004, and approved by Congress in 2007.

You may download a printable 11x17 pdf file by clicking here. (1MB)

This and our other publications are on the Matilija Coalition website here.

Our comments on the Final Design process are here.

And our comments on the Feasibility Study are here.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The good, the bad and the ugly

Earth Day update in this week's VCReporter:

'Experts weigh in on the state of the environment in Ventura County'

The Good: “The good news is that we are on the verge of breaking ground on a Surfer’s Point restoration project,” he said. “It’s taken almost 20 years to get to this point. That’s a huge positive, and something to look forward to this year. The plan is to restore the beach at the mouth of the Ventura River in response to the damage that occurred almost 20 years ago with the bike path and parking lot, and to restore the beach. It’s at the mouth of the river, so the beach comes and goes depending on how wet a year we have, but this is a progressive solution. We are restoring the natural buffer zone.”

The Bad: “The process to remove Matilija Dam has run into major stumbling blocks, where many of the stakeholders have been left out of the decision-making process,” he said. “The current proposal to build a gigantic wall to retain the sediment in perpetuity behind the dam is contrary to the vision of many who have looked forward to the restoration of that watershed.”

The Ugly: “A recent river clean up by the Main Street Bridge near the Ventura River estuary netted over five and a half tons of debris. A similar clean-up last fall netted even more. This is the result of large populations of people living in the river bottom. I think this is a real sign of our society and its neglectful inability to address social problems has environmental ramifications.”

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Public lands saved... for now

Although our local newspaper spins the story as a loss to Ventura, we have prevailed in protecting the public beach from development.

For now, at least.

According to Sunday's front page article, 'Strings on State Deed May Tie Up Ventura Beachfront Plan' Jeff Lambert, Ventura community development director intends to go to Sacramento in the coming months for a face-to-face meeting to see if he can broker a compromise.


Paul Jenkin, environmental director of the Ventura County chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, said the deed restrictions were put in place for a reason, “to protect the public interest in our property.” He said Strickland’s bill was going to happen with little public awareness, for which he faulted the city.

More here:

You can voice your opinion to city leaders by sending an e-mail to:

Monday, April 5, 2010

Steelhead blocked at Ojai Quarry

Last week we noted the passage of two adult steelhead through the Robles Diversion Fish Passage.

On March 30, 2010, ecologist Matt Stoecker reported Adult Steelhead Below the Ojai Quarry Barriers on the North Fork of Matilija Creek.

These photos and text are excerpts from his report:

Following the recent good news and video of two adult steelhead migrating up the fish ladder at Robles Diversion Dam many local scientists and watershed groups immediately worried about the impacts of the Ojai Quarry migration barriers in the North Fork of Matilija Creek. Near the mouth of the North Fork several boulder jam barriers, caused by the discarding and accumulation of large boulders, occur at the Ojai Quarry.

On March 30, 2010, these concerns were realized as two large sea-run adult steelhead measuring between 22-25 inches in length were observed immediately downstream of the quarry barriers where they appeared to be prevented from being able to migrate into the several miles of excellent habitat upstream. The male had a damaged and dysfunctional right eye and highly scared head that was consistent with multiple unsuccessful jumps at the boulder quarry barrier immediately upstream.These images were taken of the larger (male) steelhead observed. The other, smaller adult immediately hid in a deep
undercut and was unable to be photographed.

With a multi-million dollar fish passage facility at the Robles Diversion Dam passing
steelhead upstream and Matilija Dam removal at least a few years away, providing effective upstream migration into the North Fork of Matilija Creek is critical. Almost the entire North Fork and several miles of high quality habitat are effectively blocked to steelhead migration by the continued operations and migration barriers at the Ojai Quarry.

Friday, April 2, 2010

April Fools? ...not!

The cover story in this weeks VC Reporter raised some eyebrows...

Ventura County Fairgrounds sold to Caruso Affiliated

April Fools!

Unfortunately, our letter sent yesterday, April 1st, to State Senator Roderick Wright was no joke:

SB1001 - Giveaway of Public Beaches

That's right folks, as insane as it sounds to sell off the Fairgrounds, our city has deemed it in the public interest to lease the land near the historic Ventura Pier to private developers. We disagree, and I hope if you share our concerns about this issue you too will make your voice heard:

The hearing will be April 13, 2010. Send e-mail to committee staff:

Senator Roderick Wright (Chair)
Governmental Organization Standing Committee
State Capitol, Room 5064
Sacramento, CA 95814

RE: SB1001 State property: San Buenaventura State Beach - OPPOSED

More info here:

Thursday, April 1, 2010

SB1001 - Giveaway of Public Beaches

According to a recent article in the Ventura County Star, new legislation, SB 1001, would lift some public-use conditions on a portion of San Buenaventura State Beach Park that was recently transferred to the city of Ventura.

As we reported last year, developers have had their eyes on the last undeveloped land between the Fairgrounds and the pier. The Embassy Suites Hotel was approved by our city council in March 2009. The Star reported 'Big Plans for Ventura Beachfront.'

What was not disclosed in the newspapers, was that in January 1993, State Parks deeded the property by the pier to the City of Ventura to facilitate the reconstruction of the pier in accordance with the State General Plan for San Buenaventura State Beach approved in 1979. Now it appears the city would like to lift the restrictions on this land to facilitate commercial development of the beachfront.

On April 13, 2010, the Governmental Organization Standing Committee in Sacramento will hear this bill. The Surfrider Foundation wrote a letter to the committee opposing this legislation:

April 1, 2010

Senator Roderick Wright (Chair)
Governmental Organization Standing Committee
State Capitol, Room 5064
Sacramento, CA 95814

Via e-mail to committee:

RE: SB1001 State property: San Buenaventura State Beach - OPPOSED

Dear Chair Wright;

I am writing on behalf of the approximately 1000 members of the Ventura County Chapter of the
Surfrider Foundation. For the past 20 years we have worked to protect and restore our local beaches. Surfers’ Point is one of the most popular beaches in Ventura County and we are concerned about the potential effects of SB1001.

According to the Bill:

Approximately 11.65 acres, being a portion of San Buenaventura State Beach, consisting of the public pier and that portion of the land located within the existing state beach commencing at the most westerly boundary of the state beach and extending easterly to a line to be established that is approximately 50 feet easterly of the east side of the pier. Under existing law, that parcel was transferred to the City of Ventura on the condition that it be used only for public recreational purposes and authorized the state to reenter the property if that condition was breached.
This bill would terminate the public recreation use restriction and right of reentry that is held by the state with respect to a specified portion of that parcel described above in order to provide for improved public access while allowing for compatible private commercial and recreational use.

SB1001 represents a gift of public lands to a private developer and we urge the Committee to reject this misguided legislation. It is not in the public interest to lift a deed restriction that was put in place to protect this valuable coastal resource.


Vince Kinsch
Chair, Surfrider Foundation - Ventura County Chapter

More info:

Information and Status of SB1001

Standing Committee

Edgewater Proposal