Ventura Estuary

The Estuary and Surfer’s Point

The Ventura estuary is one of my favorite spots to go to in Ventura county. The estuary is adjacent to surfers point next to Ventura fair grounds. There is so much happening in this ecosystem that is natural and also human made issues. The estuary is the end point for the Ventura River water shed the river stretches from North fork matilija bringing nutrients and sediments down to the beach. I am out here almost every week for work and also my personal time it is a very unique spot if you take the time to sit and watch what takes place on a day to day basis.

 I usually sit and watch the currents push each other back and forth like it’s almost a game of tug a war the river pushes the ocean and it pushes right back. It’s also interesting to watch the tide pools when the tide is low the birds there take advantage of the crabs that or left behind and run all around leaving little imprints in the sand. The mullet fish jump out of the water usually in the morning or evenings catching insects that get close enough or on the water. 

A lot of my time growing up I spent at this beach. We used to come down with my friends in the summer when we were out of school and  would just lay out all day on the beach and sometimes surf. It was a also a lot of trial and error when I just started getting into fishing we used to fish off surfers point in catch surf perch. This beach usually is very crowded in the summer due to the amount of wind surfers and regular surfers. It’s a great little family spot if you just want to go out for the day and lounge. The other nice part about this beach is there’s a boardwalk that stretches all the way down to the pier so if you had your beach cruiser you could ride down and go to the taco shack! In the winter months the waves are Much better in my opinion but you also get a lot more rocks then you would in the summer.

Matilija Dam

The beach I’ve noticed over the years has slowly gotten smaller and smaller this is due to the sediment that is trapped behind Matilija dam. The dam has held years of nutrients for the ocean and also has blocked sand that is so badly needed for our coast. The other impacts the dam has had on our coast is the sessional spawning for the southern steelhead these fish rely On the estuary to use as a passage to travel upstream in hopes of spawning the next generation of fry. The effects of the dam have had a huge impact on numbers not to mention over fishing of there’s fish haven’t helped there cause Either.

Southern Adult Steelhead

 The estuary it’s self is protected by a sand bar at the mouth of the river this happens because the river and ocean create a neutral current so the sand builds up and doesn’t move down the cost to much. The water in the estuary is also brackish not just salt nor fresh water.

 In my opinion the saddest thing I see here is the amount of trash that gets left behind and either gets tangled up in the plants or goes out to the ocean when there is a heavy storm. There is a homeless camp that has a lot to do with the pollution and also the impact on plant species there as well. Last year there was a fire that broke out because of a camping stove that was left on it burnt a decent amount of the vegetation and left the invasive species called arondo due to the fact that this plant grows rapidly the native species are having a hard time establishing them selfs again.

Invasive Species Arundo

There has been a huge effort in eradicating the Arundo by the Nature Conservancy and also Friend’s of the Ventura River. They use a weed killer that is blue in color and adheres to the plant so it will not wash off so easy. The best way to eliminate the plant is by cutting it down to the rootball and spraying the open cut. Because of these efforts the number of invasive plants is significantly dropping.

Spraying cut Arundo

2 thoughts on “Ventura Estuary

  1. mina.sealund219@myci.csuci.edu says:

    Evan,
    I really enjoyed your blog post. It is neat that you have been going to this beach for a while so you have noticed the change in sand over time. It is sad that man made structures as well as litter are affecting the natural habitats. I’m thankful that there are conservation groups that try to preserve the land as best as they can. It is really interesting that there is a special type of weed killer that can adhere to the plant so it minimizes the water contamination.
    Mina

    • Evan Helm says:

      Hi Mina he crazy thing is that Ventura is so pro beach and keeping things natural but they don’t see the Arundo as a problem nor do they try and help the homeless camps that leave trash and damage reeds for breeding bird species that need the shelter to hid there eggs in. The kicker is they complain about the homeless instead of coming up with a solution so nothing ever gets accomplished

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