Water, water everywhere: Good Morning Santa Paula meeting focuses on water issues

October 03, 2007
Santa Paula News

There was water, water everywhere at the September Good Morning Santa Paula! when two experts addressed water issues at the meeting held at The Grove at Glen Tavern Inn.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesThere was water, water everywhere at the September Good Morning Santa Paula! when two experts addressed water issues at the meeting held at The Grove at Glen Tavern Inn.Frank B. Associates hosted the Chamber of Commerce sponsored gathering which featured John McCarthy, an RFB consultant working with the Santa Paula Creek Joint Powers Authority and Jim Kentosh of United Water Conservation District.The creek is “very interesting and dynamic” noted McCarthy, who updated GMSP! attendees on what the JPA is doing, why and “where do we go from here...”The ongoing creek project is about at the halfway stage with the goal to restore the fish habitat and the balance of uses along the waterway.Water diversion and stabilization are also being studied with the Department of Fish and Game and the Ventura County Watershed Protection District co-sponsoring the study.Santa Paula Creek is “one of the major tributaries to the Santa Clara River,” and a major spawning ground for endangered steelhead trout, but due to significant erosion and fish ladder damage the fish cannot migrate.The assessment has been completed and the JPA is also working with the Friends of the Santa Clara River, Army Corps of Engineers, Caltrans and the state regional water quality control board among others on the issue.Frank Brommenschenkel of Frank B. & Associates is the team leader and coordinator of the JPA.The creek has “very high sediment yields,” is very confined in some areas and “eroded banks dramatically in some areas,” noted McCarthy.In addition, downstream structures such as the Highway 150 bridge have “degraded significantly...in January 2005 there was a flow record” set for Santa Paula Creek of 27,000 cubic feet per second.
In the early 1900s the creek “meandered throughout the valley” before it was channelized to allow for development .Now, “we’re looking at long-term approaches to restore the creek,” as part of a watershed wide process.Additional information is available from the City of Santa Paula Website in the Public Works section.McCarthy noted that the GMSP! presentation that a JPA Citizens Advisory Committee will soon be formed to consider Santa Paula Creek issues, and “this is the first step...”Kentosh presented a history of area water management and the UWCD and noted that “our strength of economy depends on our water availability” especially for agricultural users.“We’re still depleting water supplies, mining groundwater that will run out one day,” prompting future plans being formulated by UWCD.“We must prepare for a more complex future,” including recharge and other projects as well as purchasing state water, among other options said Kentosh.The UWCD Water Management Plan also addresses environmental and habitat issues.“The road ahead will not be easy, there are a lot of difficult challenges ahead of us, but also great opportunities ahead,” noted Kentosh. “United has a plan but we will need the support of our constituents...in the end it’s going to come down to dollars and cents,” to fund the “somewhat modest” price of projects.Overall, Kentosh said, “we are blessed here with a good supply of water...”

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