Ventura County, California

Updates from Ventura County Chapter—Protecting our local ocean and beaches from source to surf
March 7, 2017

2016 Beach Cleanup Data

Surfrider Foundation Ventura County Chapter hosts monthly public beach cleanups and volunteers collected over two tons of litter off local beaches in 2016! The beach cleanups are organized in order to reduce the amount of trash on our beaches and in our ocean.

In 2016, a total of 12 beach cleanups (1 per month) were organized by Surfrider VC Chapter. Specifically, 11 of the beach cleanups were held at C Street/Surfers’ Point and 1 cleanup was held at Ormond Beach (February 2016). Collectively, a total of 4,028 lbs. of trash were collected from our local beaches by volunteers in 2016. The number of beach cleanup volunteers went from 287 in 2013 to 1,082 in 2016. This increase in participation is largely attributed to advertising resulting from a partnership with the City of Ventura. On average, there were 90 volunteers/month. December saw the smallest turnout with only 34 volunteers while April had the biggest turnout with 170 volunteers followed by October with 140 volunteers. On average, each volunteer collected nearly 4 lbs. of trash.

The total amount of trash collected in 2016 was slightly more than the amount of trash collected in 2015 and a little more than four times the amount of trash collected in 2013

One of the most notable changes observed when comparing 2015 data (Figure 3.) to 2016 data is that cigarette butts accounted for 59% of items collected in 2016, whereas in 2015, cigarette butts accounted for only 34% of items collected. This increase is most likely due to a change in collection methods for cigarette butts in 2016. In an effort to improve the accuracy of the number of cigarette butts collected, the methods used to collect and count cigarette butts were modified in 2016. Specifically, approximately 20 buckets were provided to beach cleanup volunteers and they were asked to use the buckets only for cigarette butts. This method allowed us to easily and accurately estimate the number of butts that had been collected. However, we did not use similar collection techniques for other items so it is possible that other types of trash are under reported since all other trash is commingled and we rely on volunteers to estimate how many of each item they collect on data cards.

Other notable items collected during 2016 beach cleanups were syringes (28) and dead animals observed (44). Click Here for the full report.

February 22, 2017

Saturday Beach Cleanup Moved from Ormond Beach to Surfers Point!

The recent rain flooded much of the road to Ormond Beach and left the parking area a muddy mess that is inaccessible. The cleanup scheduled for this Saturday February 25th will be held at our usual location at Surfers Point on the promenade in front of the Crowne Plaza from 9-11am. We hope to reschedule the Ormond Beach cleanup before the nesting season begins, stay tuned for updates.

Please bring a bag with you on your beach walks the next few days as there is plastic debris mixed in with the reeds and other vegetation that has washed up from the rivers recently. This photo was taken near the Santa Clara rivermouth where people have been picking up propane tanks this week.

January 14, 2017

New Ash Cans in Downtown Ventura!

Newly installed ash can in downtown Ventura.

If you’ve visited downtown Ventura recently you may have noticed the newly installed cigarette butt ash cans.  These ash cans were installed in December by the City of Ventura in partnership with Surfrider Ventura County Chapter’s newly formed Hold On To Your Butt (HOTYB) campaign.

Lisa Munoz and J Vasquez emptying ash can. Photo:  Lizzy Shoup

A critical component of the HOTYB campaign is working in partnership with our city and local business owners to ensure that once the ash cans are installed they are emptied on a regular basis and that the cigarette butts are stored until they can be sent to Terracycle to be recycled into items like pallets and park benches.  Recycling is a critical component of our program because not only do we want to keep these toxic, non-biodegradable cigarette butts out of our ocean and waterways but we also want to keep them out of our landfill.  We are super stoked and appreciative to Downtown Ventura Partners for agreeing to collaborate with us on emptying the ash cans located in the downtown area, in addition to all the other awesome things they are doing.

Downtown Ventura Partners’ Lisa Munoz, Vince Velasquez, and J Vasquez  Photo:  Lizzy Shoup

Today we met up with members of the Downtown Ventura Partners’ team Lisa Munoz, Vince Velasquez, and J Vasquez for their first emptying of the ash cans since their installation in December.  The emptying went smooth and we observed that almost every ash can (total of 5) was nearly full indicating the ash cans are getting a lot of use!   We estimate nearly 2500 cigarette butts were collected from the newly installed ash cans and a couple of Big Belly’s that have had stickers added to them to increase visibility of the cigarette butt disposal option.

A huge thanks to Downtown Ventura Partners for their partnership in this effort to raise awareness about the environmental impact of cigarette butt litter on our oceans, waves and beaches, and to help eliminate cigarette butt litter in Ventura and beyond.  If you’d like to sponsor an ash can at your business or in your community click here to learn how!

January 5, 2017

2017 Beach Cleanup Schedule

Surfrider hosts a monthly beach cleanup, typically on the 4th Saturday of each month. Most of the items collected at beach cleanups are plastic and don’t truly biodegrade. It is important to host cleanups because litter is ugly and we want to help protect the coastal wildlife that we love!

For all beach cleanups, please wear comfortable clothes, closed toed shoes and sunscreen. All volunteers are welcome to participate and must sign a liability waiver. Pre-­registration is not required unless your group is larger than 25 people – email

Volunteers under 18 MUST have a parent or guardian present at the beginning of the cleanup to sign a liability waiver before the minor can participate. You can download the waiver here: Beach.Cleanup.Waiver. We will provide all supplies, but volunteers are always welcome to bring their own work gloves, trash bag/bucket, and/or reusable water bottle to reduce waste.

Please be prepared to fill out a data card of all the trash you pick up—we need this information to help find solutions for the main sources of trash on our beaches!! Check out what we found in 2015: Surfrider_VC_Chapter_2015_Beach_Cleanup_Report.

Thank you for your interest in helping keep our beaches clean. Look for the Surfrider tent when you arrive at a beach cleanup to check in!

## If there is weather such as heavy rain or strong winds we will post any cancellation updates to our Facebook page here. ##

January 28th 2017 – ‘C’ Street / Surfer’s Point, Ventura – 9-­11am
Meet on the beach promenade at the end of California Street.

February 25th 2017 – Ormond Beach, Oxnard – 9-­11am – CANCELLED and moved to regular C Street location – see info on home page
Directions: Hwy 101 south and exit on Rice, turn right and continue for 5 miles to Hueneme Rd. Turn right on Hueneme Rd. and continue for 1 mile. Take a left on Arnold Rd. and continue for 1.3 miles to the end of the road to the parking lot.

March 25th 2017 – ‘C’ Street / Surfer’s Point, Ventura – 9-­11am
Meet on the beach promenade at the end of California Street.

April 22nd 2017 -­ ‘C’ Street / Surfer’s Point, Ventura – 9-11am
Meet on the beach promenade at the end of California Street.

May 27th 2017 -­ ‘C’ Street / Surfer’s Point, Ventura – 9-11am
Meet on the beach promenade at the end of California Street.

June 24th 2017 – ‘C’ Street / Surfer’s Point, Ventura – 9-11am
Meet on the beach promenade at the end of California Street.

July 22nd 2017 -­ ‘C’ Street / Surfer’s Point, Ventura – 9-­11am
Meet on the beach promenade at the end of California Street.

August 26th 2017 -­‘C’ Street / Surfer’s Point, Ventura – 9-­11am
Meet on the beach promenade at the end of California Street.

September 16th 2017 ‑ ‘C’ Street / Surfer’s Point, Ventura – 9am-­Noon
California Coastal Cleanup Day (THIRD Saturday)
Meet on the beach promenade at the end of California Street.

October 28th 2017 – ‘C’ Street / Surfer’s Point, Ventura – 9-­11am
Meet on the beach promenade at the end of California Street.

November 25th 2017 ‑ ‘C’ Street / Surfer’s Point, Ventura – 9-­11am
Meet on the beach promenade at the end of California Street.

December 23rd 2017 ‑ ‘C’ Street / Surfer’s Point, Ventura – 9-­11am
Meet on the beach promenade at the end of California Street.

Where to park at C St – The Surfrider tent and check in is located at where C Street meets the Promenade. The most convenient parking is at the multi-level parking structure but they charge and we don’t validate. There are a couple of free parking options within a short walk, check out the map below. The free parking on Paseo De Playa often fills up quickly but the free parking off Front St typically has space then you can take the walking bridge over the freeway to the promenade.

December 14, 2016

2016 Year In Review

As the year is coming to a close it’s a good time to look back at what we have accomplished. 2016 was a great year for the Surfrider Foundation Ventura County Chapter as we celebrated our 25th Anniversary. Throughout the year we continued great programs and campaign such as our beach cleanups and efforts with Surfers’ Point and Matilija Dam. The chapter also started a new campaign aimed at eliminating cigarette butt litter and worked with the County Fair to reduce plastic pollution from their fireworks displays. Here’s a rundown of the top programs and campaigns:

Surfers’ Point is near and dear to the Chapter and all of Ventura. In 2016 the City of Ventura obtained an emergency permit to build a rock revetment on their property near where the public restrooms are located. Surfrider is working to make sure the final permit is obtained properly and that any more work has the least impact to the surf breaks.

An extension of the work at Surfers’ Point is the effort to bring down the Matilija Dam to help increase natural sediment flow that would help renourish the sand and cobble. In 2016 Paul Jenkin, founder of the Matilija Coalition, worked with Patagonia to devise a realistic plan to bring down the dam with a project that could be shovel ready by 2019.

In the summer of 2015 beach cleanup volunteers started noticing hundreds of plastic pieces washing up at our local beaches, mainly Surfers’ Point and down towards Pierpont. After some research it became apparent that the debris was from the County Fair fireworks show. Surfrider volunteers worked with the Fair Board and fireworks company to find a solution. In 2016 there were significantly fewer plastic pieces washing up while we are working for zero plasitc debris in 2017.

In 2016 beach cleanup volunteers also noticed we were collecting thousands of cigarette butts at our Surfers’ Point cleanups despite an outdoor smoking ban in Ventura. Armed with data, and butts from cleanups, volunteers established a Hold On To Your Butt cigarette litter abatement program. In addition to highlighting the issue and hosting cleanups, Surfrider volunteers are working with the City of Ventura to find solutions including outdoor ashcans and increased signage. The first outdoor ashcans were installed in December and are already helping!

Monthly beach cleanups have been the most popular activity for the chapter as we average over 100 volunteers every month. We have hosted cleanups at many local beaches but typically find the most litter at Surfers’ Point so we are now there every month, except for February in Ormond Beach for a special cleanup before the bird nesting season.

For many years Surfrider has been handing out free reusable bags and looking for solutions the plastic bag litter. Ojai passed a local plastic bag ban ban in 2011 while the State legislature and Governor Brown passed a statewide plastic bag ban in 2014 that was put on the ballot in 2016 through the referendum process as Proposition 67. Surfrider Ventura volunteers worked hard to educate the public at events to vote yes on the proposition, handed out hundreds more reusable bags and hosted phone banking events to help pass the first statewide plastic bag ban in the country.

The Ocean Friendly Gardens committee continues to do great things. In 2016, having worked closely with the City of Ventura, Surfrider helped to establish a curb cut permit.  Curb cuts were done at public and residential locations to help reduce urban runoff. The ‘OFG’ committee continued to help promote hands on education by having workdays that showed how to install an OFG with sites at the Ventura Government Center, residential locations and Juanamaria Elementary School. We continue to support, through maintenance and aftercare education, existing OFGs at Loma Vista, Juanamaria and Will Rogers elementary schools. We are currently working with Anacapa Middle School and The Ventura Hillsides Conservancy for possible OFG installations in 2017. We developed the “Lawn Patrol” which will help residents identify and certify their own installations as Ocean Friendly. Look for a garden tour coming up in  Spring 2017!

Thank you to our generous supporters who have helped make this magic happen! What will we accomplish in 2017? To do bigger and better things we need your support. The first step is to make sure that you are a Surfrider member then get involved! Come on out to our chapter meetings and pitch in at an event when you can.

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