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11/15/2011

Ormond Beach One Step Closer to Becoming Largest Coastal Wetland in Southern California

Ormond Beach Kurt Preissler 2011

In a big win for California’s coast, the Oxnard City Council adopted a final 2030 General Plan that firmly advances the protection and restoration of the Ormond Beach wetlands. The decision was a long time in the making: Sierra Club’s Los Padres Chapter has been fighting to preserve the vast ecosystem of green wetlands and unique coastline habitat at Ormond Beach since the 1980s.

Ormond Beach is already a crucial resting spot for over 200 species of migrating birds and home to twelve threatened and endangered species and species of concern. If restored as the State Coastal Conservancy envisions it, Ormond Beach could be the largest coastal wetland in southern California, integrated with the adjoining 900 acres of freshwater wetlands and the 1,500 acres of wetlands at Mugu Lagoon – a span of nine coastal miles from Point Hueneme to Point Mugu.

For the last decade, the State Coastal Conservancy has faced some questions about whether they would be able to purchase the land necessary to fulfill their restoration efforts. Their job became a little easier last month through a combination of land use designations and policies adopted by the Oxnard City Council that should facilitate the State Coastal Conservancy’s Ormond Beach wetland restoration.

Baby Ducks, Kurt Preissler - condensed w credit

Most of the land identified within the State Coastal Conservancy preferred restoration plan is now designated for “resource protection,” which is the strongest classification for conservation of wildlife. Additionally, the City has committed to an update of the Oxnard Local Coastal Program with “the intent and effect of eventual decommissioning of the Ormond Beach power plant.”

Approximately 375 acres that had been targeted for “commercial/industrial” development in prior versions of the 2030 General Plan are now designated for “planning reserve”; this designation defers any specific land use decision until the project applicant submits it for approval. These combined decisions in Oxnard’s 2030 General Plan mean that preservation of the Ormond Beach wetlands is closer than ever.

Previous versions of the 2030 General Plan directed significant urban development throughout Ormond Beach in areas the State Coastal Conservancy hopes to restore, so we commend the City Council for its leadership on this matter.

 

Read more about the City Council decision here.

Learn more about the Sierra Club's California Coast Resilient Habitats Campaign.

 

-Column by Amanda Wallner, California Organizer for the Sierra Club

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