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Protecting the “Entire” Ventura River – Steelhead Preserve Campaign Begins

By on September 20, 2011 in News


Click here to view the two page Steelhead Preserve campaign brochure.

Click here to view the two page Steelhead Preserve campaign brochure.

You may have heard about the coalition advancing the vision of the “Ventura River Parkway” stretching 16 miles from the river’s headwaters to the ocean. Our goal is to connect people with their healthy, functioning river through appropriate and sensitive riverside parks and trails.

There are a number of important aspects of this effort, but perhaps one of the most notable is that it strengthens the coordination of the various entities working to protect the river, like the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy which works on the upper portion of the river and the Ventura-based conservationists who work on the lower portion of the river. The members of the coalition know each other well – we have spent quite a bit of time working together to bring down Matilija Dam – but with the articulation of a whole-river conservation vision in the form of a Ventura River Parkway, we are taking a big step forward.

Roughly coincident with the launching of this whole-river conservation vision, the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy was able to acquire approximately one mile of the river – now the Ventura River Steelhead Preserve. This preserve lies very close to the traditional dividing line between the upper and lower reaches of the river. Not only is it near the hydrologic confluence of San Antonio Creek and the Ventura River, but it is near the geographical confluence of the extended Ojai Valley and Ventura communities.

In addition to offering a home to many species of rare wildlife, this preserve offers an opportunity to bring together people from all parts of the Ventura River basin. The OVLC has hosted hundreds of school children on this and other preserves in our partner Once Upon a Watershed’s environmental education programs, and the location of this preserve will make it even easier to offer environmental education opportunities to Ventura children as well as Ojai children. The OVLC has already had requests to allow the study of the effects of climate change on the river at the Steelhead Preserve, and other conservation organizations focused on the river have expressed interest in using the buildings at this central location as a home base for community outreach and other conservation work. Of course we also have a goal to create appropriate opportunities for the public to learn about this special place, which contains significant cultural resources in addition to natural ones.

We are excited about the opportunities created by the new Steelhead Preserve, and we have launched a $250,000 fundraising campaign to enable us to make the necessary upgrades to prepare this place for the planned uses. As always, your support is greatly appreciated.


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