Ventura County, California

Updates from Ventura County Chapter—Protecting our local ocean and beaches from source to surf
March 11, 2015

Ventura City Council Approves the Lawn Replacement Incentive with the Watershed Approach

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

March 3, 2015

California’s Plastic Bag Ban is in Jeopardy!

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.


February 4, 2015

The Soil Will Save us, Learn About it on February 24/25th

Living Soil that is. SCWSaveThe Datesm

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 WebRay “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.

soil bios - medium



January 27, 2015

2015 Beach Cleanup Schedule

IMG_0144Big thanks to everyone who came out to the January beach cleanup at C St / Surfer’s Point. 25 volunteers picked up over 75 pounds of litter off the beach and nearby areas! Beach cleanups are important because litter is ugly and can impact marine life. Most of the items collected at beach cleanups are made from plastic and don’t truly biodegrade. Therefore it is important to host cleanups and find ways to help prevent the most common items from becoming litter in the first place.

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 (if it is, then please 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: 2015.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!! Thank you for your interest in helping keep our beaches clean. Beach cleanups are typically on the 4th Saturday of each month except for June, September & December.

February 28th 2015 – Ormond Beach, Oxnard – 9-­11am

Directions: Hwy 101 south and exit on Rice, turn right and continue to Hueneme Rd. Turn right on Hueneme Rd. After Olds Rd. take a left on Arnold and continue to the end of the road. Click Here for more details.

March 28th 2015 – ‘C’ Street / Surfer’s Point, Ventura – 9-­11am

Meet on the beach promenade at the end of California Street.

April 25th 2015 -­ ‘C’ Street / Surfer’s Point, Ventura – 9-11am

Meet on the beach promenade at the end of California Street.

May 23rd 2015 -­ Marina Park, Pierpont, Ventura – 9-­11am

Look for the Surfrider tent on the grassy area near the playground.

June 20th 2015 – ‘C’ Street / Surfer’s Point, Ventura – 9-11am
(THIRD SATURDAY) – International Surfing Day

Meet on the beach promenade at the end of California Street.

July 5th 2015 – Pierpont, Ventura – 8-11am
“Morning After Mess” Cleanup, 9am – 12noon (Special SUNDAY Beach Cleanup)

Meet on the beach at the end of Seaward Ave.

July 25th 2015 -­ ‘C’ Street / Surfer’s Point, Ventura – 9-­11am

Meet on the beach promenade at the end of California Street. (Continued)

August 22nd 2015 -­ Marina Park, Pierpont, Ventura – 9-­11am

Meet at the Surfrider tent on the grassy area near the playground.

September 19th 2015 ‑ ‘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 24th 2015 – ‘C’ Street / Surfer’s Point, Ventura – 9-­11am

Meet on the beach promenade at the end of California Street.

November 28th 2015 ‑ ‘C’ Street / Surfer’s Point, Ventura – 9-­11am

Meet on the beach promenade at the end of California Street.

December 19th 2015 ‑ ‘C’ Street / Surfer’s Point, Ventura – 9-­11am

Meet on the beach promenade at the end of California Street. (Third Saturday)

Look for the Surfrider tent when you arrive at a beach cleanup to check in!


October 30, 2014

Ventura County Surfrider Executive Committee Elections!

Please come to the upcoming chapter meeting to vote for next year’s Executive Committee members!

As described in a recent post, all Ventura County Chapter Surfrider members may vote in the EC election. Come find out what the future holds for our chapter. Here, I’ve even included the meeting information so you don’t even have to click that “Find Us!” link above:

Date: November 4, 2014 (1st Tuesday of the month)
Time: 6 to 8 p.m.
Place: 175 S. Ventura Ave, Ventura, CA 93001
WĀV Building, Courtyard Meeting Room
All are welcome!

Also, Ben Pitterle, the Watershed and Marine Program Director of Santa Barbara Channelkeeper, will be give an overview of SBCK. He will also touch on their recent lawsuit against the State Water Control Board, which impacts all of us who love the Ventura River.

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