Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Oil Piers Reef Update

BEACON is the lead agency on a proposal to construct an artificial surfing reef at Oil Piers. This is idea that originated when the piers were removed in 1998, causing loss of the surf break. At that time, Stanley's Reef Foundation was formed to promote a reef constructed from PVC pipe.

Several years later, BEACON was able to attract the interest of the Corps of Engineers to consider the project under their Section 227 Natural Erosion Control Development Program. In 2002, BEACON as the local project sponsor, and the USACOE began working on an artificial reef project at Oil Piers. The

USACOE contracted with ASR Ltd to develop a preliminary design for an offshore reef that will create a stable beach through wave rotation and energy dissipation. The proposed structure will consist of submerged sand-filled containers placed offshore of the beach.

In the past decade, ASR has constructed several sand bag reefs around the world, with limited success. In most cases the local surf communities have rejected the reefs' inability to create a surfable wave. Most recently, ASR has proposed using rocks to augment the sand bags in the New Zealand reef.

BEACON staff are currently working with the USACOE and ASR Ltd Team to deliver a new project design. Depending on federal funding, the goal is to have the project constructed in 2012.
Meanwhile, BEACON completed environmental documents proposing at least five of these structures for the Santa Barbara/Ventura coastline. Surfrider commented that it may be premature to plan these other projects until we can demonstrate success at oil piers.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Surfers Point Timeline

For those interested in the history of Surfers Point, I have been playing with an interactive timeline for the web:

This a timeline of the events documented at SurfersPoint.org

Monday, May 23, 2011

Towards Ecosystem-based Management

This is the presentation from the Ventura Hillsides Conservancy annual meeting. 'Towards Ecosystem-based Management' outlines the issues facing the community, and current and ongoing efforts towards integrated watershed management to benefit our coastal resources:

on Youtube here

A similar presentation with a fish-centric message was part of the plenary session for the annual Salmonid Restoration Federation conference in March. The same message will also be presented this week in San Diego at the Headwaters to Ocean (H2O) Conference.

Thanks to Robert Barrett who recorded and edited this presentation and broadcasts our materials on CAPS TV in Ventura. Many of these shows are also online at the Surf and River Report

Friday, May 20, 2011

Surfers' Point Working Group Wins Award

The working group that collaborated on the Surfers' Point Managed Shoreline Retreat project has been recognized as the annual CalCoast 'Friend of the Coast.' The award will be given at the Headwaters to Ocean Conference in San Diego next week.

Ventura's new water department

Ventura hires general manager to oversee new water department

She and another finalist were interviewed by a panel of city officials, environmentalists and business leaders, including representatives of the Ventura Chamber of Commerce and the Surfrider Foundation, according to the city.


Letter to the editor:

While it is misleading to suggest that Surfrider Foundation formally endorsed Ms. Epstein, we are reserving judgment until we see if she can succeed in integrating our water supply, stormwater and wastewater management.

... [Otherwise]...the ratepayers will merely be paying more money for more of the same, while jeopardizing our sustainable future.

And that will be much worse than just another missed opportunity.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Ventura Promenade repairs

Repairs are in progress on the Ventura Promenade. The seawall and stairs have taken a beating, and much of the rebar internal to the concrete structure is in a state of decay.

Surfrider commented on this project in 2001 when environmental documents were first circulated. One of our concerns was the plan to introduce additional rip-rap (boulders) along the bottom of the seawall. This is now happening...

in 2001 Surfrider wrote:

We are concerned that the Negative Declaration does not adequately consider impacts to public beach access and recreation associated with the rock revetment and new stairs.
First, the design drawings show the rock revetment extending out at least 20 feet onto the existing recreational beach. It is not clear that this structure was originally built to such a large scale, and we are concerned that the revetment placement will reduce the existing width of the recreational beach.

Construction of structures like this often results in what is termed 'placement loss,' where the public beach is effectively covered up by the placement of rocks. This is evident in the aerial image.

The other concern is that these rocks have been stacked steeply against the seawall, but will inevitable slump onto the beach. So although there is some placement loss today, next year the beach may be dangerously narrow in front of the seawall. (note that these photos are at low tide, and the beach is relatively wide following this year's rains)

Surfers Point - New Bike Path

Work continues at Surfers' Point, with the new bike path beginning to take shape.

This is the view from the west end:

The concrete bike path is designed with a textured pattern, and will eventually connect with the promenade at Surfers' Point.

Below is the view from the east end, looking back toward the river. The gravel area is a permeable 'bioswale' that will be planted once the construction is complete.

The bioswale is designed to capture runoff from the bike path and half of the new parking lot as shown in the drainage plan below. For more info see this description of how a bioswale works.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Once Upon a Watershed

The Once Upon a Watershed (OUW) program provides hands-on watershed education, restoration, and stewardship opportunities to 4th -6th grade students in the Ventura River Watershed. The program was featured in Watershed Revolution.

Once Upon a Watershed is the only watershed-specific environmental education program available in local schools, and provides one of the only pre-paid opportunity for teachers to get their students out on field trips.

Throughout the course of the 3-year program, students learn about a diversity of topics in the natural sciences, including oak ecology, watersheds, and river processes through in-class presentations and field trips. Students get the opportunity to take field trips to places such as the Ojai Meadows Preserve, Confluence Preserve, Ventura River mouth, Foster Park, and various other spots along the Ventura River. On all field trips, students are given the opportunity to contribute to real ongoing restoration projects, often by planting native plants or picking up trash. In this way, students are empowered to help restore our open spaces.

On a recent field trip to the mouth of the river I asked the students if they knew what Surfrider does. One student said "Scoop the Poop!" This is a quote from "Sea to Summit", a video produced by the Surfrider Foundation and shown in the classroom part of the program. I think they were stoked to have a real 'Surfrider' talk to their class at the beach!

Several of the kids teamed up to remove a tire and tent half buried in the estuary. It took a half hour of digging and pulling...

Last month Once Upon a Watershed was informed that their 3-year federal grant has been withdrawn after the first year - a victim of the federal budget cuts.

For more information or to help support this important program, please see http://onceuponawatershed.org/