Watershed U

Egret (photo by Udi Goren)

Watershed U – Ventura River is a series of presentations sponsored by UC Cooperative Extension and the Ventura River Watershed Council with support from the Ventura Watershed Protection District and the UC Hansen Trust.  Patagonia, Inc. hosted Watershed U.

The presentations took place in April and May 2010 and were aimed at those who live, work, or spend time in the Ventura River watershed and are interested in understanding how the river works and how individuals can help provide stewardship.

Each session focused on a different topic including history, geology, water supply and quality, ecology, conservation, land use, agriculture, and floodplain and watershed management.

Session 1: Introduction to the Ventura River Watershed

The introduction session provides an overview of the definition of a watershed, how human activity and natural events affect a watershed, what can be done to protect a watershed, overview of history and status of the Ventura Watershed, Ventura River geomorphology and flooding history and water supply, demand and conservation strategies.

Session 2: Where Water Flows:  Hydrology and Supply

Hydrology and supply provides an overview of the use of data to model the flow volume in the Ventura River, programs for more efficient use of water in California, a basic overview of  the history of California Water Law,  storm water: its function and management, FEMA mapping: land use and flooding.

Session 3: Health of the Watershed:  Water Quality

This session covers groundwater basins, recharge and quality issues, water quality regulatory scheme, factors affecting algae growth in the Ventura River (handout & powerpoint), agricultural best practices to improve water quality and SB Channelkeeper Ventura River water quality monitoring and clean-up projects.

Session 4: Conserving Species and Ecosystems

This session covers habitats and sensitive and invasive species in the Ventura River watershed, Federal and California Endangered Species Law, Ojai Valley Land Conservancy conservation projects, Los Padres fires and impacts on the watershed, Steelhead in the Ventura River, fire recovery in chaparral habitats, impact of barriers on steelhead habitat and migration.

Session 5: Changing Land Uses

This session includes presentations on the relationship between economic prosperity and environmental quality, an introduction to Ventura County land use planning, water use for agriculture in the watershed,  the importance of open space preservation in the watershed for public benefit and an overview of stormwater management.

Session 6: The Future of the Watershed

This session includes future concerns, strategies and factors affecting watershed management, introduction to the mission of the Trust for Public Land, goals of the Lower Ventura River Parkway Vision Plan and an overview of Ecosystem-based Management, divergent interests and the numerous impacts and regulations that must be coordinated to effect change.

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