City of Ventura and SB Channelkeeper Sign Interim Settlement on Ventura River Litigation

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Source: Santa Barbara Channelkeeper

The City of San Buenaventura and Santa Barbara Channelkeeper are pleased to announce an interim settlement in the lawsuit regarding the pumping and diversion of water from the Ventura River Watershed. Both Channelkeeper and the City are dedicated to ensuring the protection of this finite water source and the habitat and species that rely on it while providing water now and for the future. This collaborative agreement brings us another step closer towards this goal.
 
As part of the interim settlement, the City agreed to begin a Pilot Program to reduce its pumping and diversion of water from the river when flows drop during dry times to help protect species that depend on the river. The City will also address two low-flow fish passage barriers at its Foster Park facilities and install two monitoring gauges to help better evaluate water levels in the river. These interim measures will provide temporary assurance that some water remains in the river until scientific studies are completed to establish appropriate permanent safeguards for steelhead while also meeting the community’s water needs.
 
“We are proud to be working with Channelkeeper to put forth a plan that will protect the needs and rights of each water user in the watershed,” said Mayor Matt LaVere. “This settlement represents a shared commitment to securing our water resources for all who rely on them now and moving forward.”
 
“Channelkeeper is gratified that the City is engaged in good faith in a process to restore river flows for steelhead and other species throughout the length of the Ventura River,” said Kira Redmond, Executive Director of Santa Barbara Channelkeeper. “While there is a long road ahead, we look forward to collaborating with the City to establish a permanent solution that ensures sufficient flows for steelhead and other aquatic life in the future.”
 
Finding common ground with the City enabled Channelkeeper to help protect the steelhead for the upcoming dry season. Both sides had to compromise to create a vehicle to serve the needs of both the municipal customers of the City and the environment in the future.
 
This interim settlement represents a milestone in a collaborative process that has been underway since April in establishing a holistic, locally driven solution that protects the Ventura River and steelhead and helps preserve the City’s oldest water supply for the future. By working together with the many diverse water users in the region, the State Water Resources Control Board, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the objective of the City and Channelkeeper is to establish an adaptive and lasting framework that clearly recognizes the needs and rights of each water user, ensures sufficient flows to sustain wildlife and public recreation, and shares the responsibility of preserving finite water supplies amongst all users.

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