Addressing Watershed Pollution with Volunteer Data in Ventura, CA
February 17 2010 | Blue Water Task Force,
by Mara Dias
Throughout the fall and winter of 2008, the Ventura Surfrider Chapter and Santa Barbara Channelkeeper, through their Stream Team partnership, have collected water quality data and photo- documented contaminated discharges from a ranch whose discharge entered the Ventura River immediately upstream of Surfer's Point.
The Chapter submitted official complaints to the City of Ventura and other local agencies regarding the ongoing pollution. SB Channelkeeper submitted the Stream Team's water quality data and information to the Regional Water Quality Control Board. The Regional Board inspected the operation and met with ranch managers and representatives from the Ventura County Farm Bureau and ordered the ranch to install best management practices (BMPs) to eliminate the pollution.
According to the Farm Bureau, over the last year, the ranch has installed a number of measures to improve water quality including micro sprinklers, 2 major grass lined ditches and sediment basins to filter out sediment before it leaves the property. So far, water quality data collected in 2009 and visual observations suggest that the BMPs have made a difference, but more monitoring is required before the effectiveness of the BMP in reducing polluted discharges to the Ventura River from the subject ranch can be determined. The Stream Team will continue to sample and monitor the water quality in this location throughout 2010.
Congratulations to Ventura for getting their data out into the community and pushing their neighbors to be better stewards of their watershed.