Surfrider VC believes that the residents of South Oxnard deserve access to clean water and healthy beaches and we have recently witnessed momentum to support our mission. But, Oxnard city officials continue to put the environment last. We know this though, Ormond Beach is a prime example of how engaging with the local community and teaming up with partners can cause a paradigm shift in the health of our coastline. The city has no choice but to listen.– Laura Oergel, Chapter Chair
Restoring the most neglected beach in Ventura County: Surfrider-Style
During the year that everything our community knew came to a screeching halt, the fight to restore Ormond Beach did not. Nestled between the Port Hueneme Pier and the Point Mugu Navy Base, Ormond Beach is one of the largest and most important open-space wetland projects in California. Home to over 200 migrant bird species, the well-established dunes are also a fragile habitat to 2 endangered nesting shorebirds, the California Least Tern and Western Snowy Plover. Ormond lagoon is home to the endangered Tidewater Goby fish.
From Off Road Racing, to Gangs Wars, and an EPA Superfund Site: The History of Ormond Beach
South Oxnard has been subject to decades of environmental injustice due to the industrialization of the coastline in the late 1900’s. In 1965, a 700,000-cubic-yard slag heap of toxic waste was left behind on top of the remains of an Oxnard City Dump by Halaco Engineering Co. By 2007 it was abandoned and declared a toxic waste Superfund Site (Full Article).
In 2007, a woman named Nancy Pederson made an attempt to attract people to Ormond Beach. She procured the area at the end of Perkins Road and established the Ormond Pointe Native Plant Nursery. Unfortunately, Rival gangs and homeless moved into the area, forcing Penderson to abandon her project.
The New Generation of Ormond Beach Stewards
It has been 14 years, yet the restoration of the Ormond Beach wetlands still remains to be seen. We have not given up! Thanks to the consistent efforts of organizations like the Friends of Ormond Beach, Ventura Audubon Society, Steven Gama and the Port Hueneme REACH, Coastal Keepers, and an incredible group of local volunteers, Ormond Beach is looking better than it ever has before.
Surfrider’s Ormond Lagoon Water Quality Monitoring Program
On June 9, 2021, representatives from the Surfrider Foundation, Ventura County Environmental Health Division, and the City of Oxnard met to discuss possible locations where permanent warning signs can be posted on Ormond Island and specific locations along Ormond Beach where sampling for the Ocean Water Quality Monitoring Program are conducted. We are delighted that permanent warning signs will be posted on Oct. 4, 2021!
With the help of 774 volunteers and led by Surfrider Ventura’s Chapter Chair Laura Oergel, we removed over 15.2 tons (30,397 lbs) of trash from Ormond Beach in 2020 alone. That was an average of almost 2 tons per cleanup! During 2020, several of these cleanups were made up of 12 people or fewer due to COVID restrictions but that did not slow our groups down. As one of our volunteers coined, “It’s amazing what a small group of caring people and a few trash bags can do”. To read the article in Surfrider’s 2020 State of the Beach Report, click here and scroll to page 14
Grants and Fundraising
What lies ahead for Ormond Beach? Our chapter is stoked to announce that the California Coastal Conservancy and The Nature Conservancy, have been awarded a $1,000,000 National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant and Surfrider Ventura County has been included to provide beach clean-ups, nonpoint source trash monitoring, and water quality testing in the lagoon.
Check out the press and videos created to learn more about Ormond Beach
- Ormond Beach Lagoon Cleanup 9/12/2020 – Thanks to Jayrol San Jose @jayroi and Ben Camacho @bencamach0 for documenting our efforts
- Ormond Island Cleanup 4/24/2021 – Thank you to Friends of Ormond Beach for creating the video
- Ormond Wetland Wonderland – 30 minute documentary directed by Janet Bridgers
- Wetlands restoration continues at Ormond Beach – 3 minute video with Ventura Audubon Society
Stakeholders and Partners in the Ormond Beach Restoration
As for the continued restoration, The California Coastal Conservancy, the City of Oxnard, the Ventura Audubon Society, the State Coastal Commission (SCC), and The Nature Conservancy (TNC), have been working to develop a restoration and access plan that balances habitat restoration and protection of sensitive plant and animal species with improved and increased public access. The Ormond Beach Restoration and Access Project (OBRAP) is open for public comment and can be viewed here.
On July 31, 2019, the SCC presented a powerpoint of the OBRAP “Preferred Alternative” at the public input meeting. Since then, according to Chris Kroll from the SCC, a consultant has worked on the preferred alternative design and intends to complete the first third (30%) of the design by the end of this month. (Full article)
Want to Make a Difference?
To volunteer at Ormond Beach, please contact Laura Oergel at firstname.lastname@example.org
To support our beach cleanup efforts, including the costs of materials, dumpsters, and more, please consider donating to our chapter using this link. Please be sure to specify in the comment section that you want your donation to go to the Ormond Beach Cleanups program