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Soil Sampling Coming Soon to the Ojai Meadows Preserve

By on January 8, 2014 in News, Ojai Meadows Preserve, Press

Visitors to the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy’s Ojai Meadows Preserve may see an unusual sight next week. That is when a soil drilling rig will appear on the back of the preserve near the intersection of Lomita Avenue and Besant Road. The purpose of the rig is not to drill for oil or water. Rather, this is a routine test of soil properties in advance of a proposed project that would help clean local storm water.

The Ojai Valley Land Conservancy has partnered with the Ventura County Watershed Protection District on a grant proposal which would fund construction of a new bio-swale on a portion of the preserve. What is a bio-swale you might ask? A bio-swale is a shallow depression that collects and carries storm water drainage, then uses natural vegetation and soil properties to clean the water. This proposed project would intercept an existing community storm drain and allow the water to pass through a shallow channel on the preserve before re-entering the storm drain. Native vegetation planted in the swale will help consume pollutants such as excess nutrients, and soil bacteria can decompose oil products found in percolating water. Another important project benefit will be intercepting water during the normally dry months when most of the water comes from urban uses, and is often polluted. This water will be retained and treated onsite by the swale, before it can make it back into the storm drain network.

This project represents a pilot project that will demonstrate how these swales can be managed throughout the Ventura River drainage to protect and enhance water quality. Before constructing the project, soil properties are studied to assess the permeability of the soil and the biological functions present in the soil. These are important first steps in assessing project feasibility and informing the design process.  It is these properties that will be assessed with the upcoming sampling.

Regular visitors to the Ojai Meadows Preserve already know that much of the site is already used as a natural flood water retention project, and that much of the bird diversity and natural productivity on the preserve is a result of the creation of the wetlands. This proposed project adds variety to the approaches used at the preserve and will likely contribute to the growing diversity of habitats throughout the preserve.

The project is being proposed for grant funding from the State Water Resources Control Board, and project construction would be managed by the VCWPD. The Ojai Valley Land Conservancy will assist with revegetation of the site and supplying plants from our on-site nursery. If successful, we will be able to show just one more way a community can address storm water quality improvement while increasing habitats for birds and other wildlife.

The Ojai Valley Land Conservancy works to protect the views, trails, water and wildlife of the Ojai Valley. Since its founding in 1987, the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy has permanently protected over 2,000 acres. On that land every year, the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy maintains dozens of miles of trails, guides hundreds of visitors, and hosts thousands of guests—hikers, bicyclists, equestrians, school children and others. To learn more, visit


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