Ventura County, CaliforniaUpdates from Ventura County Chapter—Protecting our local ocean and beaches from source to surf
With solid head high sets breaking at Surfers Point, more than twenty motivated volunteers from the Surfrider Foundation and Volunteer Ventura came together for the second time this year, as part of the Managed Retreat Project. Temperatures stayed in the 70s with a cool breeze blowing through. Perfect conditions for the second workday of the year.
The main goal of the day was to remove the non-native searocket plants that propagate throughout the dunes this time of year, before they start to seed and spread throughout the area.
Leading the charge was Dave Hubbard, from Coastal Restoration Consultants. Dave helped volunteers identify which plants are native, such as beach burr, and which ones to remove.
After 2+ hours of dedicated work, it was estimated that the dunes were 90% clear of the lavender-flowered Sea Rocket, our main non-native plant of concern. Removing these annual plants before new seeds are released enables the native plants to fill the spaces taken up this year’s crop.
March 30, 2015
Time: 9am – Noon
Volunteers present: 24
*Goats were not included in volunteer head count
MARCH 16 2015 | OCEAN FRIENDLY GARDENS, GAP
BY PAUL HERZOG
Adding mulch to a garden every spring is a great way to help suppress weeds, boost soil’s ability to hold in moisture, and build a “soil sponge” to prevent runoff. Mulch (leaves, chipped branches and bark) is broken down by soil critters, then eaten by soil microorganisms – and those organisms help feed plants. Some of the bits of mulch that aren’t broken down help create pockets of air and water that help retain water when it rains. Mulch also helps us “close the loop” with recycling yard waste and turning it into a valuable landscape material. It’s easy to get, whether from a tree trimmer, a business that sells it, or a city mulch give-away programs.
The Ventura County, CA Surfrider Foundation Chapter’s Ocean Friendly Gardens Committee is partnering with the City of Ventura and Agromin Premium Soil Products to offer residents of the City of Ventura FREE mulch. Mulch will be provided to City residents for pick up only (some cities such as Long Beach, CA and Simi Valley, CA offer free delivery of mulch). Residents are told to bring their own shovels, bags, containers, etc. While there is a limit of 100 gallons, residents can get free mulch anytime (dawn to dusk) at a local community garden. The City is a great OFG partner, and directs people to OFG-oriented resources on their website. We need volunteers for this event so if interested, please email email@example.com
Fall is another good time of year for mulching – and weeding – and it can tied in with a social event. The Newport, Oregon Surfrider Chapter organized a “Pint-and-Pull” work party at the Ocean Friendly Garden they helped install at City Hall (pictured at left, and click here for details). Participants were given a ticket to get a pint at a local brewery after weeding and mulching.
One website, called Chip Drop, connects mulch providers with those who need it:https://www.chipdrop.in/howitworks/.
On Monday, March 9th City of Ventura held their bi-weekly council meeting with a huge focus on water. The Surfrider-Ventura Ocean Friendly Gardens (OFG) Program Chair, the Surfrider National OFG Program Coordinator and other OFG enthusiasts rallied before the meeting to come mainly in support of Agenda item 6, which was the approval of the $770,000 incentive program to help citizens of Ventura to rip out their lawn. All other cities in Southern California already have this program in place as part of the fees that pay for purchase of state water (through Metropolitan Water District, the regional wholesaler). Since Ventura and the Ojai Valley are on local water, they have chosen not to participate in this program. But due to a worsening drought and the water saving value from removing turf, they have decided to fund a program themselves.
4 hours into the meeting, The City Council approved the Ventura Friendly Landscape Incentive Program which will give customers $2 per square foot, anywhere from $800 to $1600 depending on yard size, to replace the lawn with climate appropriate plants.
Paul Herzog, International OFG Program Coordinator got up to speak, as well as Ventura OFG Chair and G3, Green Gardens Group Associate Ashley Parrish-Decker and Jason Brock of the Ventura Coop, all making the point that we shouldn’t just being doing this for drought but to sustain our environment and increase resiliency for the future. They each contributed something different in the quick 3 minutes they had to speak, but each reiterated that artificial turf was not going to cut it, though it may be permeable, the surface underneath is compacted and therefore impermeable and will continue to contribute to the run off problem. It is important we understand we do not live in a desert, but rather a Mediterranean climate. We can support a wide variety of plants and many of our native plants support the birds, bees and butterflies that are native to this area and losing more and more of their habitat each day due to human development. Surfrider OFG and the Ventura Coop offered their support to this incentive program and said they would be out in the community doing the work and the education that would be necessary once the program was being implemented. Successfully the City council approved the incentive with the requirement that only permeable surfaces were permitted and that the watershed approach be included in the program. Right on!
If you subscribe to the Ventura County Star, there is a great summary article reported by Arlene Martinez in todays paper. In addition to the rebates, the Council also voted to a new drought stage plan and increase rates accordingly. Per the article,
“The Ventura City Council approved a revised water shortage contingency plan, along with new rate structure tied to the severity of drought or other emergencies that would strain the water supply.”
“The plan defines levels of water shortage event, starting with a call to cut water use [or else seeing a visible difference in your water bill]” So Stage 2 would require a reduction of 10% while stage 6 requires 50%.
We are currently in stage 3 and will be moving into stage 4 in the next few months, which will then mandate a 30% reduction in water use. The City Council will have the final say of when we move between stages except for in the case of emergencies
Martinez also said that currently under stage 3 the average customer that is keeping usage the same and not making the 20% reduction is seeing a $22 increase on their bill, and so those who have made the reduction will not see an increase at all.
We will be discussing this and more at our Ocean Friendly Gardens meeting this coming Monday, March 16th at 6:30pm at the Surfrider Office 872 E.Front Street Suite 110
The California Secretary of State’s office announced in February 2015 that they have validated enough signatures to put the bag bill on the 2016 November ballot for a public vote.
Last year, the California legislature and Governor Brown approved SB 270, the statewide checkout bag bill. SB 270 is written to ban plastic checkout bags at most food retailers while requiring a ten-cent fee on paper bags as the incentive to remember reusable bags.
After approval of SB 270, the plastic bag industry paid people to collect signatures to have a public vote on the 2016 ballot through the referendum process. We expect the plastic bag industry will spend millions of dollars on misleading ads leading up to the election.
While this suspends implementation of SB 270, there is hope in 2016! We will need your grassroots help to beat the well-funded campaign to repeal the bill.
A majority of Californians already support a bag bill according to a recent study by USC. There are over 100 bag ban ordinances throughout the state that will continue to be in effect and municipalities are permitted to pass more.
We need you to keep the conversation going that plastic bags are harmful to wildlife and an eyesore for many communities while there is an easy solution with reusable bags.
Soil is truly a multifaceted ‘super hero': it grows nutritious food, supports all plant and insect life on earth, holds and cleans water, eliminates water and air pollution, and sequesters atmospheric carbon, reversing climate change. It is NOT dirt.
Many of our current construction, farming, urban design, and industrial processes kill Living Soil. When our soil is damaged in these ways it can no longer function to support human existence. When soil dies we get desertification, one symptom of which is drought. When we kill the soil, we kill ourselves. We must change our ways of dealing with soil so that we can thrive.
We feel so strongly about this that we are partnering with the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and the Council for Watershed Health to present the Urban Soil Carbon Water Summit in February 2015. Our ‘soil smack down’ conference will bring together world-renowned speakers who know we can bring soil back from the brink. They want to share their groundbreaking research and experimentation to help us gain the knowledge and confidence to save our way of life by creating soil and water security, and reversing climate change.
Dr. Elaine Ingham, founder of the Soil Food Web, Ray “the Soil Guy” Archuleta from NRCS, and Dr. Suzanne Simard, pioneer of the forest carbon sequestration process are joined by moderator Judith Schwartz, author of Cows Save The Planet, to explore the science of locking carbon into the soil, and using the soil to filter water before it reaches our rivers, lakes and beaches.
Allan Savory, developer of the Holistic Land Management strategy of the Savory Institute, and Brock Dolman, consummate educator on watershed science are joined by moderator Kristin Ohlson, author of The Soil Will Save Us, to translate the science into action and draw from projects around the globe in which the conservation and restoration of soil biology has resulted in improving the resilience of ecosystems to climate change.
The culmination of the two-day discussion will be applying this information to an urban setting such as Los Angeles. How are our urban cities going to survive unless we use these approaches to secure our future, create jobs and improve the urban economy?
The limited number of tickets for The Urban Soil Carbon Water Summit went on sale this week, but they are selling fast. Reserve your place at the table today.