Ventura’s bicycle gateway to get ocean-friendly makeover

July 25, 2017
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A before shot of the area where the ocean-friendly garden will be installed. Courtesy photo.

VENTURA — A high-profile section along the Ventura River bike path will soon become Ventura’s newest ocean-friendly garden. The Ventura Hillsides Conservancy (VHC) and the Ocean Friendly Gardens team of the Ventura County Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation have teamed up to re-landscape and reinvigorate land at the entrance to the Willoughby Nature Preserve.

The two organizations will host a series of community work days to transform the property, the first taking place on Sat., Aug. 19 beginning at 9 a.m. Volunteers will help remove old vegetation to prepare the area for future plantings of coastal native plants.

“We are excited to give this heavily used section of the bike path a much-needed facelift,” said Dash Dunkell, VHC’s Conservation Director. “Not only will people walking, jogging and biking on the path enjoy the aesthetic value of the new ocean-friendly garden, the environment will benefit too.”

Located next to the “Welcome to Ventura” sign along the Ventura River Parkway (adjacent to the parking lot at Main and Peking Streets), the landscaping will be updated using ocean-friendly garden techniques designed to capture rainwater and eliminate urban runoff. The project, funded by the City of Ventura’s Community Partnerships Grant Program, seeks to beautify the area and educate the public about the benefits of ocean-friendly gardening.

The new garden will be named in honor of Paul Herzog, Surfrider’s National Coordinator for the Ocean-Friendly Garden program, who recently passed away at age 49.

Ocean-friendly gardens are designed to reduce urban runoff which is the number one source of ocean pollution. Pollutants such as fertilizers, sediment and pesticides that wash from gardens and hard surfaces into rivers and oceans lead to a host of environmental problems including beach pollution, soil erosion and wildlife habitat degradation.

Ocean-friendly gardening follows the “CPR” rule:

  • C – Conservation – Conserve water, energy and wildlife habitat by using native and climate appropriate plants.
  • P – Permeability – Allow air and water to percolate downwards. Healthy soil, mulch, and limited hardscape sponge up water.
  • R – Retention – Retain water in the ground, not in the streets. Direct rain gutters into low areas in the yard & create curb cuts to capture street flow

The Aug. 19 volunteer work day will begin at 9 a.m. with an orientation at VHC’s informational kiosk located along the bike path at the Main St. Bridge in downtown Ventura (Main St. & Peking Streets). All volunteers should wear pants, long sleeves, closed-toe shoes, sunscreen and bring a refillable water bottle. Because of the physical nature of the work, volunteers must be at least 12 years of age and minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Volunteers can RSVP online: http://www.venturahillsides.org/ocean_friendly_garden_work_day

For more information, call the VHC office at: (805) 643-8044.

The Ventura Hillsides Conservancy is dedicated to preserving and protecting Ventura’s hillsides, water and wildlife. Founded in 2003, the 501(C)(3) non-profit organization is supported by over 500 members, local businesses and government partners. The land trust manages 80 acres of land near the Ventura River and is working toward the purchase of its first hillside property. Further information about the Conservancy is at: www.venturahillsides.org.

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