In Ojai, California, a Long-Term Riparian Vision

What impressed me most about this project to restore the Ojai watershed (Ojai is east of Santa Barbara) was the number of groups involved and the care that went into planning. The Ojai Valley Green Coalition Watershed Committee didn’t just pull up some weeds and throw some seeds on the ground. The committee made a plan and involved such local groups as CREW, an organization that provides training and jobs to young people while maintaining wildlands; other groups such as the Southern California Wetlands Recovery Project; and the city.

The project partners and their volunteers researched the site, including the prevalence of rainbow and steehead trout 100 years ago; surveyed stream morphology; picked up trash along the creek; and removed nonnative plants. Later, oaks, willows, sycamores, and grasses were planted. Here are some of the results:

Already there is more available surface water in the north end of the stream channel. This is thought to be directly attributable to the removal of the palm trees, since they use more water than native trees. The native trees have far greater carbon sequestration ability than the palms, for they contain a much greater photosynthesizing biomass.

Source: “Reminder: Ojai Creek Restoration Project and Watershed Presentation—Wednesday, April 28, 2010,” The Ojai Post