Wednesday, October 3, 2012

More River Cleanups

During the week of September 17, the County of Ventura did a major cleanup of the Ventura River starting at the upper end of the levee at Stanley Rd, working their way down to the Main Street bridge.  Officials estimated 100 tons of trash and debris were removed. This effort was planned and coordinated with the City of Ventura and other responsible parties in the Trash TMDL, as well the social services organizations working to help relocate those who called the riverbottom home.

The Ventura Hillsides Conservancy held two volunteer work days in September, with more being planned in October and November.  The video below was filmed for CAPS cable TV in Ventura:

The Ventura Hillsides Conservancy work days have filled three large dumpsters, with many more to go.  The photo below shows trash piled up along the bank of the river.  September sees the lowest flows of the year, and when the rains come all this debris will be flushed out of the rivermouth into the ocean and onto the beaches!  

The next work day is scheduled for October 27, and VHC hopes to remove these piles (this is just one) before the rains come.  See below for more info.

Graffiti under Main St bridge

As this image suggests, there is more to this issue than cleaning up the mess.  The riverbottom has been home for many people, with the population increasing dramatically over the past decade.  The Ventura River has become a destination, both for those seeking refuge, as well as other cities seeking a place to send their homeless.  EVICTION DAY is a film that focuses on the environmental issue surrounding the habitation by homeless in the mouth of the Ventura River.  The film will be showing at the Ojai Film Festival on Saturday Oct 27, as part of the afternoon Focus Earth -OCEANS and WATER.  Paul Jenkin of The Surfrider Foundation and Ben Pitterle of Santa Barbara Channelkeeper will head up the panel discussion related to ocean and watershed environmental issues. 

Volunteer Event:

River Clean -Up - VHC Willoughby Property - Saturday, October 27 9AM-Noon.  This event is part of the Points of Light Institute's "Make a Difference" Day of Service. We've cut the grass, now it's time to take out the trash. Yes, we have quite a schedule of chores ahead of us on the Willoughby Property.  If you have looked over the Main Street Bridge lately you know what we mean.  The CREW has cleared a great deal of Arundo exposing mounds of trash and debris.  E. J. Harrison will provide the roll-off bin, we'll have the buckets, gloves, grabbers and protective gear.  You bring hard-toed shoes, long pants and long-sleeve shirts and sun protection.  Park at the Main Street lot or along Peking or better yet ride your bike! Together we can make a big difference in the River.
More info: or  643-8044.

In the news:
 Officials clean up Ventura River bottom for what they hope is last time - VC Star

The Ventura River bottom diaspora
...    “Free camping [in the river bottom] is not free because of the cost of police and fire and all those people living in unsanitary conditions ending up in county hospitals [or] prisons that taxpayers pay for,” said Paul Jenkin, a representative from Friends of the Ventura River coalition.

Restoration and recreation replacing dangerous illegal camping along the Ventura River - VCReporter

Trash piled up under the Main Street Bridge, Sept 23, 2012
One of the filled dumpsters with trash from the lower Ventura River