- Terns at Ormond Beach, Oxnard. Photo by Alan Sanders
Ormond Beach is a renowned destination for scientists and nature lovers. It supports many rare native plants and over 200 species of migratory birds, including the endangered California least tern and the western snowy plover.
The State Coastal Conservancy has purchased significant acreage to permanently protect areas of Ormond Beach, and is also developing a restoration plan for the entire area. If successful, Ormond Beach could be one of the largest coastal wetland areas in Southern California.
Unfortunately, planning decisions made early in the history of the City of Oxnard also marked Ormond Beach as the destination for heavy industry. The legacy of industrial operators that failed to safely dispose of their hazardous waste remains to this day. In 2007, the Halaco Engineering Company properties were added to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund National Priorities List. Until Halaco is cleaned up, it remains a burden to the community and a threat to the Ormond wetlands.
Currently, the City of Oxnard is on the verge of several major planning decisions that could degrade the wetlands and interfere with efforts to restore and expand the wetland area.
The City is considering allowing residential, light industrial, and commercial development on at least 700 acres of currently undeveloped agricultural land adjacent to the Ormond Beach wetlands. If approved, these projects would introduce significant urban impacts intothe already severely degraded wetland area and eliminate the possibility of significantly expanding the current wetland area.
The City is also considering a major overhaul to its General Plan, a document that lays out the future vision for Oxnard and guides its growth and development. This is an opportunity for the City to identify meaningful steps toward protecting and restoring the Ormond Beach wetlands. Yet there is little in the draft Plan to suggest the City intends to ensure the successful protection and restoration of Ormond Beach.
The Environmental Defense Center represents the Los Padres Sierra Club and the Environmental Coalition of Ventura County on this critical coastal issue. Please join their efforts to protect Ormond Beach. email@example.com edcnet.org