Watershed U. will provide common ground on issues
- Beginning April 22 and running each Thursday afternoon through May 27, experts will discuss the geography of the watershed, water supply, flood management, water quality, ecology and habitat, land use, and ongoing and newly started planning efforts. http://ucanr.org/watershedu_ventura.
Eye on the environment: Watershed U. will provide common ground on issues
By Sabrina Drill Guest writer
Saturday, March 27, 2010
From plans for a Lower Ventura River Parkway to the removal of Matilija Dam, from construction of new wells and levees to water conservation and pollution protection, you can learn about the Ventura River this spring at Watershed U.-Ventura River. Early registration will end Thursday, so sign up now to reserve your place.
A watershed is the area from which any drop of rain that falls flows to a single water body. Watersheds can be a natural unit for planning and conservation. Watershed management can include such issues as competition for water, how to reduce pollution, protection from flooding, and environmental conservation.
Land uses, ranging from urban to agricultural and industrial to open space, all have various water needs and effects. Balancing these issues requires efforts from a diverse group, including residents, farmers and government agencies.
Ventura County watersheds include Calleguas Creek, which drains Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Moorpark and Camarillo and meets the ocean in Oxnard; the Santa Clara River, which runs through Piru, Fillmore, Santa Paula and eastern Ojai and flows to the Pacific between Ventura and Oxnard; and the Ventura River, the focus of this year’s Watershed U.
The Ventura River watershed covers 228 square miles. The upper half is steep terrain in the Los Padres National Forest, while the lower half includes Wheeler Springs, Meiners Oaks, Ojai, Mira Monte, Oak View, Casitas Springs and the northwestern part of Ventura.
The river flows for 31 miles from Matilija Canyon to where it meets the ocean between the county fairgrounds and Emma Wood State Beach. The largest streams flowing into the river are the North and West Forks of Matilija Creek, San Antonio Creek, and Cañada Larga. Lake Casitas stores water from the Coyote Creek subwatershed.
The watershed provides much of the water consumed in the Ojai Valley and Ventura. Farms and ranches produce lemons, oranges and avocados as well as cattle. Recreational opportunities abound, include hiking, rock-climbing, boating, fishing and surfing. New trails are being developed on both public and conservancy land.
Species in the watershed include mountain lions and bobcats, black bears, steelhead trout, red-legged frog, least Bell’s vireo and many shorebirds. Almost 30,000 acres of the watershed are in the federally designated Matilija Wilderness.
Some of the big issues for the Ventura River include how to protect areas from flooding, how to balance the water needs of farmers, city dwellers and the environment; how to protect and improve water quality; and how to restore habitat.
The Ventura River Watershed Council includes representatives of city, county, state and federal agencies; the Ojai Valley and Ventura Hillsides conservancies; the Ventura County Farm Bureau; and Casitas Municipal Water District. You can also take part by getting involved with one of the community-based environmental groups on the council, such as the Surfrider Foundation, Santa Barbara Channelkeeper, Ventura Coastkeeper and Ojai Valley Green Coalition. Similar groups work on the Calleguas and Santa Clara watersheds.
Watershed U.-Ventura River, presented by the UC Cooperative Extension and Ventura River Watershed Council, will give participants a common body of knowledge. Beginning April 22 and running each Thursday afternoon through May 27, experts will discuss the geography of the watershed, water supply, flood management, water quality, ecology and habitat, land use, and ongoing and newly started planning efforts.
For more information and registration, visit http://ucanr.org/watershedu_ventura.
— Sabrina Drill is a natural resources adviser for the UC Cooperative Extension in Ventura and Los Angeles counties. Representatives of government or nonprofit agencies who want to submit articles on environmental topics for this column should contact David Goldstein at 658-4312 or david.goldstein@....