Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Surfers Point dunes

Friday December 14, 2012

Last Friday a small crew of volunteers from Patagonia worked hard to install cables and signs at Surfers Point.  The cables are intended to mark off the designated walkways in order to allow for revegetation of the dunes.  In these photos you can also see  the sterile 'rice straw' that was installed by City contractors.  

Thanks to the Surfrider crew, including Cynthia (signs etc), Morrie (finding the cables and hardware), Curt (pizza arrived on schedule), and Alec (hard labor)  - City of Ventura staff Joe McDermott and Rosie Ornelias.  Ventura rentals donated a bolt cutter and post pounder, and of course the Patagonia edit department who provided the 'miracle grant' that paid for the materials!

We look forward to watching the native plants sprout following the rainy winter weather!  Stay tuned for future work days!

Matilija Dam 2012 update

Matilija Design Oversight Group (DOG) Meeting - Dec 4 9am - noon

The Matilija Dam 'Design Oversight Group' met on December 4th.  Presentations updated the group on the Corps process and progress on elements of the final design.  this was followed by a discussion and approval of the Technical Advisory Committee work plan for 2013.

The main progress is the recent design study for the Santa Ana bridge. An assessment determined that an upstream alignment for a new bridge will be the best alternative for the Santa Ana Rd crossing in Oak View.

This presentation as well as a presentation on the giant reed removal may be downloaded from matilijadam.org

Next Steps:

Over the past year, the Matilija Dam Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) has completed a draft work plan for the next steps in resolving the issues with removing Matilija Dam.  This report will be presented for approval by the DOG.  The final document will be used in a Request For Proposals (RFP) to go out to consultants early 2013.  The California Coastal Conservancy plans to sponsor additional studies recommended by the TAC as follows:

Task 1: Dam Removal Plans
The goal of this study will be to formulate feasible methods for the removal of Matilija Dam, located on Matilija Creek in Ventura County, California. The study will develop the engineering details associated with several different alternatives for mechanical sediment management and flow control during dam removal. This study would not evaluate the downstream slurry options, but would focus on the mechanical placement of sediment upstream of the dam and evaluate options for the control of flow and sediment during dam removal.  The study will be performed in two phases, with the first study done at primarily a conceptual level and the second study done in more detail on a fewer number of options to develop more reliable costs and impacts for those options.

The analyses will examine approaches for Full Dam Removal as well as an Interim Notch.  The Interim Notch would have the main purpose of preventing further deposition in the reservoir area, but could also have the additional purposes of inducing a small amount of erosion so that the sediment removal process could begin and providing data on the sediment processes that would occur upon dam removal.

Task 2: Sediment Analysis of interim and dam removal schemes
The goal of this study will be to simulate the sediment transport processes for the proposed interim notching and full removal schemes that will be evaluated in dam removal plans (Task 1).

Task 3: Robles Diversion Mitigation
The removal of Matilija Dam Removal has the potential to increase the sediment concentration within Matilija Creek and the Ventura River downstream of the dam during and after the removal process. This scope of work would develop methods to mitigate the impact to water supply through supplying water of acceptable quality during the period of impact. This study would be done in close collaboration with Task 1 and 2 (1: Dam Removal Plans 2: Erosion and Sediment Transport Modeling Analysis and). Task 2 will determine the potential for lost diversion opportunity at Robles as well as the magnitude and duration of lost diversion opportunity by computing the duration and seasonal timing when diversions will be precluded by high turbidities. The magnitude and duration of lost diversion opportunity will guide the water loss mitigation analysis

The completed TAC reports may also be downloaded at matilijadam.org

More on the recent history of the project on this blog:  Matilija Dam

Monday, December 10, 2012

Surfers' Point workdays

Saturday December 8, 2012

Over 70 volunteers plus a dozen organizers spent the morning working on the dune area at Surfers' Point.  The large crew made quick work of cleaning, seeding, and planting the 4 acre area.  The workday was coordinated by the City of Ventura in partnership with the Ventura County Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, and attracted Surfrider members and families from the community.  

The City of Ventura has been preparing the area for several months.  In April, sand was delivered to the project area from Pierpont Beach where the large accumulation was inundating beachfront homes.  (see Surfers Point - sand dunes)
A dune restoration plan was prepared by a consultant team to coordinate the multiple stakeholder interests and ensure ecological goals are met.  Sand that was initially delivered in longitudinal rows was re-graded with machinery over the past few weeks to form more natural 'hummock' dunes, create a buffer zone along the bike path, and provide designated 'recreation areas.'  

Because some of the imported sand contained unnatural concrete and other debris, the first crew of volunteers went to work cleaning the dunes with rakes and special mechanical 'sifters.'  It's amazing how much area a large crew can cover in an hour or two!

 As volunteers completed the debris removal, they were given tools to weed areas where non-native plants were beginning to sprout from the recent rains.  Catching these sprouts early will make a big difference later in the spring when we return to remove weeds.

While the cleanup and weeding was happening, another work group was systematically distributing native plant seeds under the direction of restoration consultant Dave Hubbard.  The seed was custom mixed for different areas of the project, mixed with some dry sand and scattered evenly within a designated area.  The area was then raked to further distribute and bury the seeds.  These seeds will be futher stabilized this week through the application of straw which will be 'crimped' into the dunes by a contractor.

Surf Brewery's Bill Riegler applies seed 
to the Surfers' Point dune restoration area.

Finally, hundreds of plants arrived from our local Surfrider Ocean Friendly Gardens 'plant parents' who have been caring for them since seeds were collected from the site last year (Surfers' Point workday.)    Volunteers spent another couple of hours planting these along the bike path and filling in areas in the bioswale.

picks were needed to break up the hard soil for planting in the bioswale

On Friday Patagonia volunteers will install barrier fencing and signs to help direct traffic through the dunes to allow for plants to establish and stabilize the new sand dunes.

Thanks to VolunteerVentura, the Ventura County Fairgrounds, and our sponsors!  The Surfrider Foundation purchased seed and refreshments for this restoration project with support from the Surf Brewery, Amgen, and Patagonia.  Please help support the Surf Brewery by asking for their local brews at your favorite eatery or visiting the tasting room on Market St in Ventura:  http://surfbrewery.com/

In the news: 

Volunteers to restore Surfers Point dunes this weekend in Ventura - VCStar

Unique Project To Deal With Erosion At Popular South Coast Beach At Halfway Point - KCLU

Our Ventura TV program included interviews at the workday event

Handcrafted sand dunes require community efforts to reach their full potential
Outdoor Observer -  VC Star