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Parkway Preserve

By on February 25, 2022 in Featured, News, Newsletter


In November 2021, the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy (OVLC) joined in partnership with The Trust for Public Land (TPL) to announce the acquisition of 28 acres located just upstream from the confluence of the Ventura River and Cañada Larga Creek. The property, officially named the Parkway Preserve, will protect and restore critical wildlife habitat along the Ventura River, provide opportunities to mitigate stormwater flooding, and provide neighboring communities with increased access to open space along the Ventura River. 

OVLC has protected over 4 miles of the 16 miles of the Ventura River, and the acquisition of the Parkway Preserve is another important step towards realizing the vision of the Ventura River Parkway—a contiguous collection of protected and publicly accessible land in and adjacent to the Ventura River. 

Since people first inhabited the area, the Ventura River has always been an invaluable water source and a gathering place for people. Today, there are few places where people can access and enjoy the river. In fact, the decision to name the new preserve “Parkway” is a reference to the Ventura River Parkway that was planned in 2008 by TPL, the State Coastal Conservancy, and Cal Poly Pomona. The future plans for the Parkway Preserve align with the vision to preserve land along the river corridor and re-establish access to the river—but we have a long way to go before that can happen. 

Prior to the acquisition, the site of the Parkway Preserve was zoned for industrial use to support oil fields. The two parcels that make up the preserve are degraded habitat and there are over 60,000 cubic yards of fill dirt that has been dumped on the property. Restoring the land will require major earth work and habitat enhancements. As part of the purchase agreement, seven acres of the 28 acres are being leased back to the previous property owner to operate as a commercial storage yard for the next 20 years. 

In the meantime, OVLC will collaborate with TPL on the habitat restoration of the remaining 21 acres to provide ecosystem benefits like stormwater protection and public access. The OVLC is thankful for all the work the Trust for Public Land did to acquire this land. We look forward to working with them to protect and restore this vital part of the Ventura River. In the not so far off future, the communities of North Ventura Avenue and the Westside Community of Ventura will have enhanced access to open space and the Ventura River, bringing us one step closer to realizing the vision of the Ventura River Parkway. 

The acquisition of the Parkway Preserve was funded through the California Natural Resources Agency and the California Wildlife Conservation Board in partnership with The Trust for Public Land and the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy to protect, restore, and enhance California’s cultural, community, and natural resources.

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