County Beachscape Project
Eric R. Reed Program Assistant, Surfrider Foundation, Ventura
the Ventura Chapter Beachscape Maps>>>
The goal of the Surfrider Foundation’s Beachscape
program is to collect information for a national “state
of the beach” database. As one of the first chapters
to actively participate in this mapping program, Ventura
County discovered that the project is a formidable undertaking
– walking the coast, collecting data, and managing
mountains of information involved a great amount of coordination
and dedication. However, the work paid great dividends,
as the Beachscape project will become a vital part of our
effort to watchdog and restore our overdeveloped coastline.
Surfrider National’s Beachscape program provided the
template for mapping the entire forty-mile coast of Ventura
County. Led by instructor Kevin Buddhu, students from
Camarillo High School conducted the initial Beachscape coastal
survey of outfalls, shoreline structures, beach access points,
and erosion hotspots in 1999 and 2000. In 2001, interns
from Patagonia, Inc. complemented this initial groundwork
with a Global Positioning System (GPS) survey of the beaches.
With this data we created a project map of the entire coast
using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software, which
can produce maps, interactive Web applications, and be used
in conjunction with other projects such as water quality
monitoring. Access to the computer database will simply
involve clicking on a beach, outfall, or other feature,
and watching a photo appear accompanied by the appropriate
Using the Beachscape program in Ventura County, we located
twenty-eight beaches, one hundred thirty-six outfalls, forty-four
shoreline structures, thirty-six beach access points, and
seven major erosion hotspots. Seawalls and other coastal
structures line over two-thirds of our beaches.
Two rivers empty into the Pacific within the City of Ventura,
and the fabled Pacific Coast Highway runs along the oceanfront.
Thousands of acres of agricultural land producing most of
America’s strawberries border the shoreline and mingle
with industrial facilities such as power plants, recycling
facilities, and harbors. Though not surprised, we
found that wherever commerce met the coast, the coast was
The Beachscape survey is an important step towards the preservation
of Ventura County’s beaches. The most valuable
benefit is the thorough documentation achievable only by
a study conducted on foot. “We now have a complete
picture of Ventura County beaches – every pipe, stairway,
structure, and seawall is documented,” notes Paul
Jenkin, Environmental Director of Surfrider Ventura.
“The project enhanced our sense of ownership, knowing
that we carefully walked and mapped every inch of the coastline.
Any party impacting our beaches is now held accountable.”
contact Paul Jenkin at email@example.com for more info.