Friday, April 8, 2011

Rafting the Ventura River

On March 22, 2011, a small group from the Ventura River Stream Team took advantage of spring flows in the Ventura River. The group has been talking about running the river for years, waiting for an opportunity with adequate flows to safely navigate downstream.

The original intent was to put in at the Ventura River Preserve and float the river all the way out to sea. But upon arriving at the Hwy 150 bridge, a couple of miles downstream from the trailhead, it was clear that it would be tough to navigate the rocky river. Although there was over 700 cfs flowing from the Matilija Creek confluence upstream, most of this water was being directed over to Lake Casitas at the Robles Diversion.

The group ended up putting in at Santa Ana Rd, where the channel is a bit narrower. Flows were still a bit low, and there was some 'pushing' involved to get through the shallow spots. Upon reaching the San Antonio Creek confluence things got more interesting. In some locations it was difficult to navigate through the willows, but the group made it to Foster Park. A smaller group decided to continue on downstream, and made it all the way to the ocean.

Watch the video on YouTube here:

The USGS surveyors were out that day and measured flow at Foster Park to be around 400 cfs, as noted by the red dot on the hydrograph.