Monday, October 8, 2012

Ventura Curb Cut

On Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012, the Ventura Ocean Friendly Gardens team returned to the recently completed garden to take it one step further: the first residential 'curb cut' in Ventura.

Ocean Friendly Gardens apply the concepts of Conservation, Permeability, and Retention to convert a residential landscape from one that sheds water and contributes to runoff and ocean pollution to a climate appropriate garden that captures and infiltrates rainwater on site.

What is a 'curb cut?'  and why?

In cases where a public 'parkway' exists between the sidewalk and the street, cutting a notch in the curb allows rainwater to enter the parkway where it can be absorbed and cleansed.  This captures urban runoff before it reaches the storm drain.

The curb cut design was created by the Green Gardens Group (G3), a watershed-friendly design group who have been working with Surfrider and the City of Ventura (as well as other municipalities in Southern California) to provide professional training and design/oversight for Ocean Friendly Gardens.

Volunteers worked to dig out the parkway and transform the hard-packed grass into a permeable bioswale.

A 'french drain' was laid in a bed of gravel to ensure drainage once the soil becomes saturated.

Once the curb was cut and drainage installed, the parkway was planted and mulched.  The end result is a beautiful native landscape that captures and absorbs runoff from the street.  If the 'upstream' neighbor is washing a car, it waters the plants rather than pollutes the ocean. In heavy rains, excess water will re-enter the street on the downstream end of each bioswale, which will have removed most of the pollutants (car oil, fertilizers, trash, etc)

A series of projects like these installed the length of the street would effectively capture the 'first flush' runoff, which contains the majority of pollutants, and reduce the total volume of water entering the storm drain system.  In order to make this possible, the City of Ventura will soon be offering a standard design, no-cost permit for all City residents, a first in the nation!

Many thanks to all those who made this demonstration project possible, including the City of Ventura, Green Gardens Group, Paul Herzog and all the Surfrider Foundation volunteers who donated their sweat to help lead the way in solving the urban runoff problem!

This residence is the site of the recent Ventura Ocean Friendly Gardens (OFG) retrofit, funded by a State grant (Whale Tail License Plate Program). Turf grass was removed and the site was sheet mulched (smothered with compost, paper and mulch). Rain gutter downspouts were redirected into the landscape, filtering and utilizing rainwater as a resource. Native and some non-native-but-climate-appropriate plants were installed, and the irrigation was converted to drip. (See this for more details:

In the news:

More information: coastal blog: taking-ofg-to-the-streets-parkway-curb-cut-bio-swale

Ventura OFG Campaign:

Surfrider's OFG page:

Solving the Urban Runoff Problem:

Participant blog:

Get involved:
City of Ventura:  Jill Sarick     805-652-4501