The Santa Clara River System is the focus of CCBER’s Spring 2017 Conservation and Restoration Seminar series, with the many speakers presenting on various aspects of restoration in this complex system. Lynn Rodriguez (Manager for the Watersheds Coalition of Ventura County), and Laura Riege (Project Director for Santa Clara River Project) presented in the first weeks and have so far described a history of the river’s management issues as well as some unique strategies for managing agriculture and other land and water use demands in the river system. Our thanks to Lynn Rodriguez and Laura Riege for these informative talks!
The Santa Clara River headwaters are located in the San Gabriel Mountains, and from there it flows 116 miles through northern Los Angeles and into Southern Ventura County, where the river empties into the Pacific Ocean. This complex system has a watershed of over 1,600 square miles and is the largest river system in southern California remaining in a relatively natural state. While many large coastal southern California rivers have been heavily modified to support urban development and flood protection, the Santa Clara River still possesses many of its historical attributes including a dynamic floodplain, large coastal lagoon, and extensive riparian vegetation
The Santa Clara River system contains a variety of different habitats, including coastal sage scrub, riparian forest, chaparral, oak woodland, and juniper woodland. Combined with aquatic habitats present, this high habitat diversity supports a large number of endangered and threatened species, including the tidewater goby (Eucyclobius newberry), least Bell’s vireo (Vireo bellii pusillus), and arroyo toad (Bufo microscaphus californicus). In addition, a run of federally endangered southern steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) have made the watershed a focus for recovery efforts. As the river flows east to west between the Santa Susana Mountains and the Transverse Ranges, the river crosses lands with many different uses and local governments, highlighting the management difficulties of such a large system.
Although the Santa Clara River system is still in a predominantly natural state, threats to the river exist in the form of urban development, channelization, stormwater runoff pollution, erosion, aggregate mining, invasive species, and water quality issues. Thankfully, these problems are being tackled head on by a great number of watershed conservation and restoration groups, including the Watershed Coalition of Ventura County, Santa Clara River Watershed Committee, CalTrout, The Nature Conservancy, Friends of the Santa Clara River, and others.
Want to learn more about the Santa Clara River system? CCBER's Conservation and Restoration Seminar takes place on Monday at 5pm in Harder South Room 1013, come join! Our Calender has more info on dates and speakers
Check out these links for more info on Santa Clara River restoration and conservation efforts: http://parkway.scrwatershed.org/theriver/scr/index.html , http://www.fscr.org/ , http://ucanr.edu/sites/scriwtf/