Below are some highlights from the Ventura River Watershed Council’s history.
Ventura River Watershed Council formed. The California Coastal Conservancy’s Wetlands Recovery Project launched the Council. Shortly thereafter leadership transfered to the Watersheds Coalition of Ventura County. A big part of the Council’s early work was helping to develop a regional, integrated water management plan for Ventura County. These plans are a prerequisite for receiving water bond funding under Proposition 50 (2002) and Proposition 84 (2006).
$3,349,000 in Proposition 50 funding awarded for three projects: 1) a Ventura River Watershed Protection Project (largely surface water hydrology modeling to inform flood control), 2) the San Antonio Creek Spreading Grounds (groundwater recharge), and 3) Senior Canyon Mutual Water Company Equipment Upgrades (to reduce water demand).
“Watershed U – Ventura River” was held, a comprehensive educational series for the community, coordinated by the University of California’s Cooperative Extension’s office and supported by watershed council participants. This popular program provided 18 hours of educational presentations by local experts on a wide variety of watershed topics.
$500,000 in Proposition 84 funding awarded for the Ojai Meadows Ecosystem Restoration Project.
$75,000 in Proposition 84 funding awarded for Biodigester Feasibility Study as a potential manure management option.
Watershed coordinator hired. The new watershed coordinator position is largely funded by a grant ($241,600) from the California Department of Conservation, with additional support provided by several watershed council partners. Development of a Ventura River Watershed Management Plan is a key objective of the watershed coordinator position. The Ojai Valley Land Conservancy generously hosts the staff position.
Organizational identity strengthened. Developed a mission statement, logo, and website for the Council. (www.venturawatershed.org)
Evening meetings. The first evening meeting of the Council was held to accommodate the schedules of those who cannot attend daytime meetings. Evening meetings are held twice a year, in April and October.
Governance Charter adopted. A basic governance charter was adopted, which outlines the organization’s purpose, objectives, membership, and decision-making structure. The charter makes explicit the stakeholders’ commitment to the work of the Watershed Council and helps give credibility to the Council’s work.
Ventura River Parkway concept approved by Board of Supervisors. Watershed Council partners including the Calif. Coastal Conservancy, Trust for Public Land, Friends of the Ventura River, Surfrider Foundation and Ventura Hillsides Conservancy, worked with Supervisor Steve Bennett to gain conceptual support from the Ventura County Board of Supervisors for a Ventura River Parkway. The idea of a parkway is to provide more public access, trails and recreational opportunities along the river to make the river a more visible and valued community asset.
$48,800 grant awarded from the Bureau of Reclamation to expand the Watershed Council and help with the development of a watershed management plan.