Urban runoff is amongst the biggest threats to the water quality and ecological integrity of Ventura County’s inland and coastal waterbodies. In particular, stormwater runoff, or the polluted runoff that follows rainstorms, carries high levels of sediment, oil, toxins, metals, bacteria, nutrients, and other pollutants from municipal storms drains, industrial sites, and construction activities into Ventura County’s streams and coastal waters. Furthermore, high volumes of urban stormwater runoff can scour stream banks, degrade riparian habitats, increase sediment loading into waterbodies, and reduce baseflow (groundwater) contributions to rivers and streams that keep them flowing year round. These water quality threats from urban stormwater runoff will be exacerbated by the population growth of Ventura County, which by 2030 is projected to rise by 200,000, from 800,000 to over 1,000,000 residents. If current trends continue, the development accompanying this population boom will lead to more impervious surfaces that increase the pollutant loads entering our waterways. Despite these trends, stormwater pollution has been exacerbated by the unwillingness of state agencies to take enforcement action against polluters, to prevent these discharges through meaningful regulation, and require Low Impact Development (LID).
VCK’s stormwater campaign is focused on: 1) Coordinating with NRDC, Heal the Bay, and other non profits in a 15 year campaign to strengthen Ventura County’s municipal stormwater system (MS4) permit to prevent stormwater from polluting and impairing Ventura County’s waterways; 2) Enforcing and enabling the implementation of the Ventura County MS4 Permit; 3) Promoting LID; and 4) Preventing industrial stormwater discharges and stormwater runoff from construction sites from impairing waterbodies.