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Passion Inspires Creek Realignment

By on March 1, 2012 in News

The Sespe Fly Fishers Club recently recognized Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard’s commitment to preservation of the environment and support for local conservation through direct action in the Ojai Valley.

Sespe Fly Fishers Club at Ventura River PreserveYvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, is committed to supporting local conservation efforts. Couinard is also a fly fisherman and member of the Sespe Fly Fishers Club which promotes fly fishing, habitat conservation and education in Ventura County. Recently the Sespe Fly Fishers helped the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy’s (OVLC) restoration efforts by planting native plants at the Rice Creek realignment site on the Ventura River Preserve. Important projects like the realignment of Rice Creek would not be possible without help from groups such as the Sespe Fly Fishers Club.

The Rice Creek realignment on the Ventura River Preserve is well underway. Historically, Rice Creek flowed out of Rice Canyon and traversed the upper bench that once was home to the mighty Ventura River. In the 1920’s, however, Rice Creek was placed behind artificial levees and shot off a cliff into the current Ventura River Floodplain. The channelization of the stream severed its hydrologic connection to the Ventura River and de-watered 3,700 feet of the historic stream. Later this summer, thanks to scores of volunteers, generous grants, and OVLC staff Rice Creek will be re-routed back to its historic route.

Placing the stream back into its historic route is important for several reasons. First, re-watering the stream in its natural route will reconnect the stream to the Ventura River in a natural confluence. These wetted stream channels act as thoroughfares for migrating wildlife. When we re-create connections, we are uniting ecological connections between the lower floodplains of the River and the hillside habitats. Nature is all about connections. Replacing the stream will also create new habitats for birds and wildlife. The artificial route of the stream flowed through a narrow drainage ditch and then through the rocky substrates of the Ventura River floodplain. The soil conditions along that route did not support the same lush vegetation as the deeper and more nutrient rich soil along the historic route. The difference in habitat quality is substantial. Aligning the stream with its historic route also re-unites the visible stream with its original sub-surface hydrology. Your support and that of people from around Ventura County make this land healing work possible.

Sespe Fly Fishers Club is a member organization of the Federation of Fly Fishers, promoting fly fishing, habitat conservation, and education in Ventura County, CA. If you are interested in fly fishing you should check out their website at They offer fly tying classes and regular outings.

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