Ventura County, California

Updates from Ventura County Chapter—Protecting our local ocean and beaches from source to surf
April 29, 2014

Upcoming Ocean Friendly Garden and Water Wise Workshops!

Water Wise Watering Class – May 3rdVentura Water is offering a water wise class to save water by tuning up and managing outdoor watering.  Learn how to irrigate your landscape efficiently with the use of drip, rotating nozzles, and smart controllers that maximize water and energy efficiency. Ewing Irrigation professional Raul Topete will lead this hands-on, informational and educational class from 10 – 11:30 a.m. at the City of Ventura Sanjon Maintenance Yard (336 Sanjon Rd.).  Sign up today here or call (805) 652-4501.

Design With Native Gardens – May 17th: Learn how to design beautiful landscapes with native plants! Casitas MWD is hosting a workshop  from 9 a.m. -12 p.m. at Oak View Park and Resource Center (555 Mahoney). Cinnamon McIntosh, Water Conservation Specialist, will present on using native plants in your garden. The workshop will have an interactive component where attendees get to practice using the newly taught skills related to design. RSVP at or (805-649-2251 ext. 118)

California Friendly Landscape Class (Port Hueneme) – May 17th: In Port Hueneme G3, Green Gardens Group will be giving a three hour California Friendly Landscape Class sponsored by Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and hosted by Port Hueneme and supported by Calleguas Municipal Water District. Come learn about how you can turn your garden into a mini-watershed with conservation, permeability and retention! The Class will be held from 9am – 12pm at Port Hueneme City Hall. The event is free, but registration is required. Contact Sherry Claborn

California Friendly Landscape Class (Moorpark) – May 17th: For those of you who are further south in Ventura County, on the same day G3 will be giving the California Friendly Landscape Class in Moorpark 9am – 12 pm. The class will be hosted by Ventura County Waterworks and supported by Calleguas Municipal Water District. The event is also free, but registration is required. Contact Karen Goodman or Anne Dana at 508-378-3000 or email:

Ojai Valley Green Coalition-Water Saving Landscapes – May 30: see the Ojai Valley Green Coalition website for details.

SoCal Bloomers Class – June 14th: Love plants but not sure which ones are best for your garden? Discover colorful, climate-appropriate plants to incorporate beautifully into your water-wise landscape.  Lisa Burton of Nature by Design will lead this informative, free class from 10 – 11:30 a.m. at the City of Ventura Sanjon Maintenance Yard (336 Sanjon Rd.). Recognized as a leader in sustainable landscape design, Burton has been installing lawn alternatives, such as Ocean Friendly Gardens and Wildlife Habitat Gardens, for more than a decade in Ventura County. Sign up today here or call (805) 652-4501.

April 29, 2014

Ventura Surfrider Tours Gold Coast Recycling Facility

Last week, Surfrider members and The Refill Shoppe employees toured Gold Coast Recycling Facility. Participants got to see arrival of delivery trucks, sorting lines, packing for processing, and a whole lot of recyclables! Take away note from the tour – when in doubt, recycle. To learn more about the facility and what you can/cannot recycle, check out their website.We are so grateful for the time staff took out of their busy day to show us the site and for all of the dirty work that employees do every day. Thank you, Gold Coast Recycling!


Just a glimpse at facility equipment (Photo credit: The Refill Shoppe)


Piles of rubbish waiting to be sorted – Can you count the plastic bags?

(Note: Plastic bags and film plastics are NOT recyclable)

(Photo credit: The Refill Shoppe)


Nan Drake from Gold Coast tells Surfrider participants about the sorting lines


Tractor pushes recyclables into a pile to be loaded on the sorting belts


Paper sorting belt


Plastic cosmetic bottle that has lost its way


Some of the tour participants and staff

April 29, 2014

Help Sierra Club and Support Grey Wolves

The lone howl of a gray wolf hasn’t been heard in the California wilderness for over 80 years. But that is now changing, gray wolves are starting to enter California from packs which are now in Oregon.  Yet the state of California does not have a welcome to California sign out for any gray wolves entering our state. In spite of strong public support for protections for gray wolves under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA), the state Fish and Game Commission has yet to place wolves under CESA protections.
  The commission has given the public 90 days (until July 10th) to comment on the petition to list wolves within California for protection under CESA.
Our coalition of wolf protection organizations has started a campaign to flood the commission with email letters in support of wolf protections.
  Please email the CA Fish and Game Commission ( with your personal letter stating in your own words your support for placing wolves in California under the protection of the CESA.
  We would like to have at least 10,000 email letters into the commission supporting wolf protection by the July 10th deadline.
 Wolves had been an important part of California’s great wild natural heritage until hunted to extinction within our state.Lets welcome wolves back to California’s natural world and give them the protections they deserve.
April 15, 2014

Plastic Problem in the Ocean – on Bill Maher!

For those of you who have not seen it, here’s the interview with Captain Paul Watson from Whale Wars and what he has to say about plastic pollution. Check it out!


March 19, 2014

St. Patrick’s Day Parade – We Won!

Congratulations to Ventura Surfrider’s Rise Above Plastics Campaign for winning FIRST PLACE in the Ventura St. Patrick’s Day Parade under the category of Public Awareness!

Here are some photos from the parade. To see more, check out our FB page!


The Bag Monster in Action


Andy and Tom proudly march in the parade with the Surfrider banner


The Bag Monster Parade wagon all geared up


A special thanks to our parade participants: Gerry, Evan, Elisa, Tom, and Andy as well as to Bob for handling logistics!


February 28, 2014

Picture of the Month: The Mystery Fish and Blue Goo

This photo was sent to us by a Surfrider member in Oxnard.  Hundreds of dead fish along with mysterious “blue goop” lined the shore last week.  Are they related?
Our response:  Two things happened during the week of February 15:  First the Santa Clara River estuary breached.  Second, the annual dredging began at the Ventura Harbor.
Most of the fish found along the shore were freshwater species that have thrived in environment created by the effluent discharge in the Santa Clara River estuary.  The high water levels in the lagoon due to the extended lack of flows in the river have been problematic from McGrath State Beach, and there has been much debate over how to manage this area.  It is likely that someone took a shovel to the berm, flushing the water into the ocean along with fish that cannot survive in salt water.  Many of these fish were carp, a non-native fish that thrives in poor water quality.
What about the petroleum-smelling “blue goop?”  We have seen this before when the dredges are operating, and our theory is that it is a lubricant used in the sand-moving operation.  In both cases, fish and ‘goop’ and whatever else was in the estuary and the dredging discharges was delivered to the beaches downcoast by the longshore current that generally moves from west to east along our shores.
More on dredging here:
More on the Santa Clara estuary here:
~~Thanks to Kevin in Oxnard for sending us this photo.  Please send us your photos of interest or concern!  Remember, you are Surfrider’s eyes on the environment!~~


February 27, 2014

February Events Recap

Ventura Surfrider Events February 2014
OFG Lawn Patrol Neighborhood Walk: 2-1
Here are some neat photos from the OFG event at the beginning of the month. The walk began at Patagonia where Paul Jenkin presented on “Know Your H2O”. Then the group ventured along the bike path to the Gallegos residence on Prospect, checking out a variety of landscapes along the way.
“Know Your H2O”
Walking along the bike path
Eric discusses the edible landscape in view
Stream Team volunteers monitor drought conditions: 2-8
Every month, Ventura Surfrider partners with Santa Barbara Channel Keepers to sample the Ventura River. Over the past months, stream team samplers have seen a dismal decline in Ventura River compared to previous years. The picture (below) shows that in 2012, the river above the pool was still flowing, but in 2013, and during the most recent Stream Team event, it was bone dry.  The elevation of water in the pool is a good indicator of groundwater levels in the aquifer that feeds it.  As you can see, the level has dropped considerably.  Obviously, the fish who once occupied the pool are long dead. Help Surfrider and Santa Barbara Channel Keepers (SBCK) monitor water quality in the Ventura River watershed. We collect water samples and perform hands on field analysis at monitoring locations from above Matilija Dam to the estuary near Surfer’s Point. Ventura Stream Team sampling events take place once a month, usually on the first Saturday, from 9:00 Am to 1 PM.  Pizza and soft drinks are served. We meet at the corner of Julian St. and West Main Street in Ventura (approximately 239 West Main St., for Google Maps).
For more information on Stream Team, please visit:
Monthly Beach Cleanup Recap: 2-15
About a dozen people made it out to Surfers Point to clean up on a beautiful Ventura Saturday. They collected 47 lbs. of trash in just two hours!
The next clean up will be held Saturday, March 15th at Surfers Point.  The meeting place will be on the Promenade in front of the Crown Plaza Hotel. See you there!
Ocean Friendly Gardens Meeting: 2-18
The OFG committee has elected new leadership! Please welcome the following: Eric Werbalowsky – Social Media and Outreach Coordinator, Ashley Parrish-Decker – Projects/Event Coordinator, Renee Roth – Education Coordinator, and Tyrone LaFay – Co-Chair!
For more OFG updates, contact to receive the newsletter.
Renee Roth of Rainscape Designs and member of Ventura County Ocean Friendly Gardens executive committee teamed up with Carolina Murillo of Flora Gardens for a workshop on “Convert Your Turf”, to encourage saving water in your landscape and reducing runoff through the use of Ocean Friendly Gardens.  The event, held February 22 in Oak View, was well attended, with ninety people from the Ojai/Ventura area, and was sponsored by Casitas Water District. Ron Merkling of Casitas Municipal Water District opened the event with information on historical rainfall data and Casitas Water District’s response to the current drought.  Renee Roth discussed unique qualities of the Ventura River Watershed including population and runoff as sources of pollution to our local water supplies, types of turf and how to get rid of them, benefits of collecting rainwater in your landscape with before and after pictures of three local Ocean Friendly Gardens projects, low water using/native plants, and how to read your water bill to determine how much water is going outside into your landscape.  Carolina Murillo talked about qualities of various low water using plants and how to stress plants to grow deeper roots so plants conserve water.


Carolina Murillo (left) and Renee Roth (right), where Carolina is explaining qualities of low water using plants.


Ninety people attended the event, where Ron Merkling of Casitas Water talked about the drought conditions, Renee Roth was the “Voice of the Watershed” and talked about ways to remove turf to conserve water in the landscape and reduce runoff, and Carolina Murillo talked about low water using plants and how to grow plants to conserve water.

For upcoming OFG educational events similar to this one, check out the following websites:

T3- Third Thirsty Thursday Event: OFG 
Fabulous February’s Third Thirsty Thursday and Stokin’ Surf Brewery (VCSurfrider’s Amazing Community Partner) featured entertainment by the Sea Hunters: Doug Paulin & Gary Guthrie with guest percussionist, Doug Johnson.   Eric Werbalowsky, Ventura Organic Garden Design and Wayne Sapp, representing VCSF’s Ocean Friendly Garden Program were on hand to inform attending BrewSters about drought tolerant options for their yards, quite timely, don’tcha think?!!!
Join us on March 20 from 6-8pm, for the next T3 (Third Thirsty Thursday[the new Friday]) at Surf Brewery 4561 Market St., Ventura, 93003  with the inimitable, Frank Barajas, from 6-8p.m., sponsored by Ventura County’s Chapter of Surfrider Foundation.
Sea Hunters jammin’ out
OFG presenters and Surfrider volunteers having fun at our favorite locale, Surf Brewery
RAP Meeting Recap: 2-24
RAPpers discussed upcoming events including the St. Patrick’s Day Parade (March 15th, 10 am). Surfrider will be walking in the parade with the Bag Monster costume, signs, and the whole shabang!
Those looking to participate should contact:
Also, Courtney Lindberg attended to discuss the City of Ventura’s efforts to collaborate with grocery stores and other businesses as the reusable bag ordinance moves forward. Surfrider will collaborate with the city to help educate both grocers and shoppers.
To stay updated with Rise Above Plastics events and news, email and join the newsletter!
December 16, 2013

How to Attend a City Council Meeting

In light of tonight’s Ventura City Council Meeting, which will be addressing a proposed reusable bag ordinance, I thought I’d put up the first of what I hope will be several How To posts for Ventura County Surfrider Activists.

How to Attend a City Council Meeting

First, find out where to go. Our Links page can get you started for most cities in Ventura County. Once you find the city’s website, you may have to do some digging to get the location. For example, here are the directions to Ventura City Hall. You’ll notice that it’s a jpg file, which makes it inaccessible to some people. Leave yourself enough time to contact the City or a friend to make sure you end up in the right place.

Second, know what you’re going to say—if anything. That’s right, you can go to a council meeting to support a cause you believe in without doing any public speaking! If you keep track of your cause through Facebook or other means, you may find that your fellow activists are marking themselves in some way, such as wearing blue shirts. Using this marker is the first way you can help without speaking. Whether or not there is a “team uniform”, one of the activists who speaks before the council may ask any supporters in the room to identify themselves. That’s your moment—stand up or raise your hand. Congratulations, you’ve made your opinion known to your elected representatives!

If you do want to express your opinion in your own words, there are a couple of options that might present themselves. Some council meetings offer the chance to submit comment cards. If you prefer the written word, this option’s for you. The other option is to volunteer to speak. You will most likely have to submit a speaker card to get in line for the podium. If you’re uncomfortable with writing, or extremely passionate about an issue, it is okay to make yourself heard! The City Council is here to represent you and your fellow residents.

Surfrider supporter at a podium. Credit: S. Iverson

Surfrider activist Larry Manson speaks to a crowd

Tips for preparing remarks:

1) Know your subject well. You don’t have to be perfect (if the city needs to hear from professional experts, they can hire them), but you should be well-informed on your cause.

2) Find out the rules. How do you get in line to speak? How long are you permitted to speak? Can you use visual aids?

3) Keep track of time. Meetings and hearings generally focus on more than one issue. This means you may not want to sit through the entire thing. Find out when your cause is on the agenda so that you don’t miss it.

4) Dress the part. If your role in the community is what’s important, dress to fit that role. If you’re not sure what to wear, business casual is always okay. Whatever you wear, try to be clean and tidy.

5) Be polite and interesting. Greet the council (e.g. “Good evening”), and keep your remarks to the point. The object is not to beat the other side in terms of total minutes spoken. It’s to create the most impact on your audience.

6) Breathe.

7) Make it personal. Emphasize that you’re a local. You are a taxpayer, a voter, a business owner, a laborer, a teacher, a student, a parent, a surfer. You play an important role in your community, and the cause you are passionate about plays an important part in your life.

Good luck!

September 27, 2013


Welcome to the newest iteration of the Surfrider Foundation-Ventura County Chapter website! We hope you like it. Occasionally, this space will host blog posts on current activities and issues of interest. For more information, explore the menus above.

You can contact us by emailing our Volunteer Coordinator. If you’d like to become a member, click the big orange button on the right of your screen. You can find us at many county events; just look for the stylish tablecloths under the big blue tent.

Surfrider Table