Watershed News 9-2-2011

California Chapter Conference – Ventura 2011

Over 100 Surfrider activists from around the state converged in Ventura for the 2011 California Statewide Chapter Conference at the Crowne Plaza in Ventura, California.  The Ventura County Chapter was proud to host the conference, which provided  invaluable opportunity to network with other chapters from around the state and celebrate  the Ventura Chapter’s 20th Anniversary.

Next steps for Ventura Wastewater?

The City of Ventura has been wrestling with it’s wastewater discharge for the past two decades.  Increased regulatory scrutiny and pressure from environmental groups resulted in the “Santa Clara River Estuary Special Studies” process, which began in 2009.  These studies have been focused on determining whether or not the volume and quality of wastewater is beneficial to the Santa Clara River Estuary. 

This month the City announced a settlement with Wishtoyo/Ventura CoastKeeper and Heal the Bay, which alters the discussion.  According the the VCStar‘Ventura officials announced Wednesday a settlement agreement to spend up to $55 million to redirect and possibly reuse millions of gallons of heavily treated sewage water that currently flows into the Santa Clara River from a city treatment facility. Ventura ratepayers will be responsible for covering most of the expense.’

This is a great time for Ventura to Know Your H2O, before the opportunity for truly integrated water management is lost.

Friends of the Ventura River

A coalition of organizations is organizing as the “Friends of the Ventura River.”   The primary mission is to promote the Ventura River Parkway project to provide a proactive means to protect and restore the Ventura River Watershed.  With support from Patagonia, the coalition is building a website that will provide a single resource for all things Ventura River.
This will ultimately include an online library of relevant documents, as well as space for watershed partners to post information and events.  We hope that all individuals and organizations within our watershed see this as an opportunity to better coordinate our efforts.

We are in the process of shifting this occasional news e-mail over to the Friends of the Ventura River listserver, so watch for an e-mail coming soon.  In the meantime, we invite you to visit the website and sign up at friendsofventurariver.org.  Please contact Paul (pjenkin@surfrider.org) or Diane (dunderhill@sbcglobal.net) to find out how you or your organization can get involved!

McGrath State Beach to remain open at least 2 more months


McGrath State Beach has won a reprieve to remain open for at least two months beyond the expected Sept. 6 closure date, California State Parks Channel Coast District Superintendent Richard Rozzelle said Tuesday. 

The parks that gets the most votes at http://www.livepositively.com will win $100,000 for first, $50,000 for second and $25,000 for third place. McGrath is in sixth place in the contest that ends Tuesday.


Students clean up Ventura River bottom

This semi-annual event helps the City of Ventura comply with the Clean Water Act – the Ventura River estuary has been listed by the EPA as ‘impaired’ by trash, as well as other problems.

“We are responsible for this,” City Manager Rick Cole said, as helped paint over graffiti on the Main Street bridge. “We get fined for dirty runoff from this river. There’s no question this is a valuable community service.”


News and Events

Matilija Dam in the News

Silt Woes Continue To Plague Matilija Dam
Aug 11, 2011: The Ojai Valley News

This past November a work group convened to find and develop solutions for managing the fine sediment and to produce a report on their findings. That report, now complete in draft form and in its final editing stages will be central to discussions that take place when the Design Oversight Group meets again on Sept. 14. According to Paul Jenkin of the Matilija Coalition, the main gist of the report is that Ventura County Public Works has agreed to look at notching the dam down to the silt line in an effort independent of the Army Corps of Engineers, and at the same time look at bringing in outside expertise on how to best move the fine sediment that continues to slowly build up behind the dam.
“This is a pretty big deal, and we could see some real progress toward actually removing the dam,” Jenkin said.

More on Matilija Dam: http://friendsofventurariver.org/search/label/Matilija%20Dam

Fracking in Ventura County

According to the Environmental Defense Center, Occidental Petroleum Company has disclosed its fracking of two oil wells this spring, one in Kern County and one in Ventura County. The Ventura frack job was conducted within the Rincon oil field on May 27 at a depth of 8,474 feet and required 361,620 gallons of water. The inland Rincon field is located between the cities of Ventura and Carpinteria, and is situated within steep coastal hills that drain straight into the ocean. Occidental, also known as “Oxy,” and its subsidiary Vintage Production California LLC are the primary operators within the Rincon field. In March of this year, an oil spill from the Rincon field occurred after a landslide ruptured a pipeline, releasing approximately 210 gallons of oil on the beach between Hobson and Faria County Parks.

In addition to water, the hydraulic fracturing fluid ingredients listed in Occidental’s disclosure form include methanol, phenol formaldehyde resin, hydrochloric acid, xylene, naphthalene, and several other ingredients. Occidental voluntarily disclosed its fracking operations through the chemical disclosure registry website http://fracfocus.org/. Occidental’s disclosures are the first in California to be made through Frac Focus; no other disclosures have been made in the state to date.

Venoco, Inc., the company responsible for fracking two oil wells near the town of Los Alamos in northern Santa Barbara County this spring, and which plans to invest approximately $100 million towards exploring the Monterey Shale formation this year, is not among the companies participating in disclosure through the fracfocus website. http://fracfocus.org/links.

The increasing prevalence of fracking for oil within California is the subject of a front page SF Chronicle story : http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2011/08/15/MN9T1KE04E.DTL.


Ventura’s Water Efficiency Plan
Wednesday, August 17 at 6 pm in the Community Meeting Room at City Hall
All Ventura Water customers and interested parties are invited to participate in a community meeting to offer us feedback on a draft Water Efficiency Plan. The workshop will be held on Wednesday, August 17 at 6 pm in the Community Meeting Room at City Hall and will consist of an overview presentation followed by a discussion session. Ventura’s Water Efficiency Plan is the action program resulting from requirements in the recently adopted Urban Water Management Plan and the first version will be posted on this page by August 15 for public review. If you have any questions, please email Karen Waln at kwaln@venturawater.net.

Sespe Flyfishers Meeting
Wed Aug 17, 7 pm
Paul Jenkin will present the latest developments on the Matilija Dam Ecosystem Restoration Project

Santa Clara River Estuary Stakeholder meeting
Thursday, August 18, 2011 starting at 10:00 am in the General Assembly Room at the Ventura Water Reclamation Facility located at 1400 Spinnaker Drive, Ventura. The focus of the workshop will be to discuss comments received to the most recent synthesis report, and next steps.

More info: http://www.cityofventura.net/rivers

Ojai Valley Green Coalition Watershed Council
Thur, August 18, 2011 at 5:15 pm at the new resource center 327 Ojai Ave, next to Ojai Pizza.

Ventura River Watershed Council Meeting
Tuesday, August 23rd at 9:00 a.m.
The meeting will include an update on the Algae TMDL and a kick-off discussion about the preparation of the final report for V-1 – The Ventura River Watershed Protection Plan.

Workshop on historic ecology of Ventura County
Thursday September 8 – 1:00 to 4:30 pm
County Govt Center, Lower Plaza Assembly Room – lower level of the Administration Building

The Coastal Conservancy will sponsor a workshop on the historic ecology of Ventura County and the ecology, hydrogeomorphology, and river parkway program of the Santa Clara River.

Although the focus of the workshop will be on the Santa Clara River, presentations about the historical ecology study will include portions of the Ventura River and Calleguas Creek, as well as the coastal wetlands in the County covered in the new Conservancy study, “Historical Wetlands of the Southern California Coast.”

Ventura Chapter to host Surfrider California Conference.
Aug 26-28 – Crowne Plaza hotel—over looking Surfer’s Point
For more information contact Vince at vcsrfchair@gmail.com

Ventura Hillsides Music Festival
Arroyo Verde Park, Sunday, September 25, 2011
For the ninth year, the Ventura Hillsides Conservancy will present the annual Ventura Hillsides Music Festival in Arroyo Verde Park, Sunday, September 25, 2011. Three stellar musical performers will anchor the bill: Texas R & B from the Fabulous Thunderbirds, sweet southern gospel and soul from the Blind Boys of Alabama and an eclectic tour of world music with multi-instrumentalist and frequent Jackson Browne cohort,David Lindley. Additional special guests will be announced at a later date.
more info: http://www.venturahillsides.org