Wetlands are the link between water and land.
The SOUTH ORMOND BEACH WETLAND RESTORATION PROJECT is a group Master's thesis for the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
The purpose of the project is to investigate the feasibility of restoring tidal flow to South Ormond Beach in an effort to return the area to a fully functioning wetland.
Oxnard drain bordering the South Ormond Beach wetland.
Southern California Edison's power plant in distance.
|In the mid-1800's, an extensive estuarine wetlands system existed on the
coast of Oxnard, California.
Since that time, most of the wetlands complex has been destroyed by development.
South Ormond Beach is one of the few remaining pieces of this once vast wetland
that is still relatively unmodified. It is severely degraded, however, and
its waterways and soils have been polluted by agricultural and industrial
|Ormond Beach has been designated a priority site for preservation and restoration
under the Southern
California Wetlands Recovery Project of the California
Coastal Conservancy. |
|The South Ormond Beach Wetland Restoration Project will investigate the hydrologic restoration of tidal waters to South Ormond Beach through the connection of the Oxnard Drain, an industrial/agricultural drainage ditch, to Mugu Lagoon, a natural tidally-influenced lagoon.|
|Coastal wetlands are of vital ecological and socio-economic significance.
Coastal wetlands in Southern California have declined by 70 to 75 percent
and many of those remaining are degraded (California Coastal Conservancy,
1999). Wetlands filter contaminants from waters, store large volumes of water
thereby reducing the threat of flooding, and provide nursery services that
help ensure the productivity of marine life. Coastal wetland plants also help
prevent erosion, stabilizing the shoreline. The tidal, sheltered waters of
coastal wetlands support unique ecosystems upon which several endangered species
are entirely dependent for their survival. Coastal wetlands also provide cultural
benefits such as recreation, opportunities for science and education, and
aesthetics. Additionally, they provide economic benefits to the tourism and
commercial fishing industries. |
|Ormond Beach, labeled the "Jewel of Oxnard" for its remoteness and natural
beauty, is located in a mixed-use agricultural and industrial area of Oxnard.
Historical maps of Ormond Beach
indicate that in 1855 an extensive system of estuarine wetlands extended from
Mugu Lagoon, which lies four miles to the south, to Port Hueneme to the north.
Since that time, upstream creeks have been dammed and diverted for agricultural
and industrial development, infrastructure controls have been placed on the
tidal flow of Mugu Lagoon to support an adjacent Naval Air Station, and the
wetlands complex has declined drastically.|
|In winter 1999, the California Coastal Conservancy commenced purchase of
approximately 660 acres of land at Ormond Beach, including South Ormond Beach,
from Southern California Edison. The California Coastal Conservancy intends
to implement a wetland restoration project on its Ormond Beach property. |
|Several methods of restoring water to the historical wetland at Ormond Beach
have been suggested in planning reports. These methods include altering existing
hydrologic controls to restore historical tidal influence from Mugu Lagoon
to South Ormond Beach; piping treated wastewater from a nearby treatment plant;
and/or utilizing groundwater by tapping a confined aquifer in the site vicinity.
|This Project will focus on the option identified as most favorable: connecting the Oxnard Drain in South Ormond Beach to Mugu Lagoon.|
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The objective of the South Ormond Beach Wetland Restoration Project is to determine the technical and economic feasibility of restoring tidal influence to South Ormond Beach via Mugu Lagoon with minimal ecological impact from contaminants in the sediments of the Lagoon and connecting hydraulic units. The South Ormond Beach Wetland Restoration Project will investigate the following issues concerning the proposed restoration of the South Ormond Beach Wetland:
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Upon completion of the project analysis of the collected data, the subsequent results and the Group Project recommendations will be made available to all stakeholders and parties involved. Specifically, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the California Coastal Conservancy, SCE, other Federal and State agencies, as well as any other interested organizations and/or parties, will be provided with the project results.
|The results are expected to include:
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For further information, please contact project members at: Ormond@bren.ucsb.edu
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Page last updated on: March 14, 2001 4:20 PST