[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Cloudy
Cloudy
67°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
September 19
1863 - Gen. Edward F. Beale loans money to A.A. Hudson and Oliver P. Robbins to erect toll house in Newhall Pass [story]


The Least Bell's Vireo is one species benefiting from the riparian restoration projects along the Santa Clara River. Photo: Steve Maslowski, USFWS

The Least Bell’s Vireo is one species benefiting from the riparian restoration projects along the Santa Clara River. Photo: Steve Maslowski, USFWS

[U.S. Fish & Wildlife, Sept. 14, 2016] – Oil spills permeate every aspect of the environment, contaminating water, destroying land, and threatening wildlife. To clean up, we must work on many levels to restore the impacted area. Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple solution to this.

The communities surrounding the Santa Clara River in southern California are all too familiar with the difficulty of cleaning up an oil spill. Two major oil spills, the ExxonMobil pipeline break of 1991 and the ARCO pipeline break of 1994, impacted the same 15-mile stretch of the Santa Clara River.

Following the spills, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) partnered with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to conduct a Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) for each spill. The watershed is home to 16 federally protected species, and is an Audubon Global Important Bird Area. The NRDAs documented impacts to hundreds of acres of riparian habitat as well as numerous birds, mammals, fish, and other wildlife that live, feed, and shelter in the river corridor.

To counter the environmental injury caused by these spills, the Service and CDFW created the Santa Clara River Trustee Council (SCRTC). The SCRTC works on restoration projects for the injured habitat and wildlife of the Santa Clara River, using $9.8 million ($2.7 million from Exxon Mobil and $7.1 million from ARCO) to protect land and rebuild native habitats for wildlife.

Unlike many other major rivers in the Country, the Santa Clara River is not in the public domain, and is divided into numerous parcels that are privately owned. To protect as much of the river as possible, the SCRTC has partnered with The Nature Conservancy, California Coastal Conservancy, and California Wildlife Conservation Board to acquire 1,011 acres of land within the river corridor. The SCRTC is also working with these partners and the California Department of Water Resources to preserve agricultural lands in the floodplain surrounding the river channel. Preserving these iconic agricultural fields of the Santa Clara River valley provides a buffer between the river and our communities. Farmers that participate in the floodplain protection program receive funding in order to keep their land in agriculture, in exchange for a promise not to build permanent levees that would prevent the river from flowing naturally. Protecting the land surrounding the Santa Clara River protects the habitats within the river corridor that are so valuable for wildlife.

When free-flowing rivers are dammed and channelized, migratory fish such as the Southern steelhead trout are unable to reach their spawning grounds, and the entire population declines. Photo: Jennifer Strickland, USFWS.

When free-flowing rivers are dammed and channelized, migratory fish such as the Southern steelhead trout are unable to reach their spawning grounds, and the entire population declines. Photo: Jennifer Strickland, USFWS.

Oil spills can be detrimental to wildlife reliant on the damaged water and land, but the restoration actions can focus on fixing other issues that threaten the river. The Santa Clara is one of the last remaining free-flowing river systems in southern California — the rest are obstructed by dams, and channelized with concrete in large sections. When free-flowing rivers like the Santa Clara are dammed and channelized, migratory fish such as the Southern steelhead trout are unable to reach their spawning grounds, and the entire population declines. That’s why the SCRTC is partnering with California Trout and the California Conservation Corps to remove barriers to fish migration in Santa Clara River. Through rehabilitation of their habitats and further research, we can restore wildlife in and along the Santa Clara.

The process of cleaning up after an oil spill and restoring the environment spans multiple generations, so participation and support from the local community is the key to restoring the Santa Clara and keeping the watershed healthy. SCRTC sponsored education programs and museum exhibits work to foster an appreciation of the Santa Clara River by highlighting the wildlife and ecosystem services the river supports. Children and adults are embracing these education efforts and people of all ages have volunteered to help complete long-term projects in the watershed.

Restoring and conserving the Santa Clara River will be a lengthy process, but we have made incredible progress. Through the hard work of the SCRTC, the Service, our partners, and the local community, the devastating effects of these oil spills in the Santa Clara River are becoming a thing of the past.

 

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

5 Comments

  1. jim says:

    “Are becoming a thing of the past”? Really, you are promising that, or just suggesting that?

    What is said above is possible, given that many of the major oil producing areas in the SCV have either cut back or abandoned their fields due to lower yields. The eastern end of the Santa Clara Valley has long been abandoned by oil producers, other than the big hills along the west side of the 14 freeway between Newhall Avenue and Golden Valley Road. Since the major producer in Placerita has declared bankruptcy, it is possible that pumping, oil storage, and the inevitable spills into feeder streams will either cease or be reduced.

    Has the Newhall Ranch development plan dedicated current and future oil exploration opportunites west of I5 and similar areas to other pursuits that have nothing to do with oil production? I would assume that people who buy homes in the Landmark Village and other phases of the project would like to know that.

    The story suggests that the SCRTC has only the authority to fix the damage done by major oil spills, although it apparently tries to encourage appropriate use of properties adjoining the river (aka farming and watershed protection).

    Great! But what about riparian habitats that are damaged by encroachment into the riverbed due to development? That would be the many phases of the Newhall Ranch Project already approved or in line for approval by Los Angeles County. And we can throw into that mix the Vista del Canyon project in Canyon Country, a footprint that has already pushed deep into the river bed (only grading so far, but pushing into the river’s traditional flood bed).

    Trumpeting the good that is being done to fix the damage of the past is a fine thing. However, preventing the damage that may be done in the future is a far, far better thing to do.

  2. jim says:

    Yep*. As usual I trust our government will attempt to do right by us (as far as the environment including fish and wildlife), more or less. I’d like to think that includes looking ahead for future circumstances that can cause damage similar to what they are trying to fix now.

    Wouldn’t that be nice?

    It is a press release, right?

    *Perhaps I should have said “They” instead of “you” in the second sentence to keep things clear.

    • SCVNews.com says:

      As to whether it was a press release … not entirely sure how it was distributed. It’s something they published on their website on the 14th.

  3. Dave Middleton says:

    While laudable that SCRCT is working to protect the Santa Clara river channel- I find it quite misleading to create the impression that the Santa Clara river could be returned to a suitable habitat to sustain wild steelhead- that is a total fantasy. And by the way the picture included in the article is one of a dead steelhead…

Leave a Comment


SCV NewsBreak
Loading...
LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES
Monday, Sep 18, 2017
Newhall Teen Missing Since Saturday Found
Family members report they have found Elias Ortiz, a 16-year-old Newhall resident who had been missing since Saturday night.
Monday, Sep 18, 2017
San Gabriel National Monument Not on Interior Secretary’s Shrink List
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is recommending that six of 27 national monuments under review by the Trump administration be reduced in size, with changes to several others proposed, but the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument is not on Zinke's shrink list.
Monday, Sep 18, 2017
Mendoza-Wilk Supervisors Expansion Bill Clears State Senate
Senate Constitutional Amendment 12, or SCA-12, authored by Senator Tony Mendoza (D-Los Angeles) with Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita) the principal co-author, has passed by the State Senate on a bipartisan vote of 27-7.
Keep Up With Our Facebook

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
California Credit Union is inviting all Los Angeles County teachers who have a great class project idea to apply for a credit union grant through its bi-annual Teacher Grant Program.
CCU’s Fall Teacher Grant Applications Underway
California's housing market defied gravity as existing home sales and median home price registered increases on both a monthly and an annual basis in August, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) said Monday.
State Sees Increase in Housing Market
1863 - Gen. Edward F. Beale loans money to A.A. Hudson and Oliver P. Robbins to erect toll house in Newhall Pass [story]
California State University, Northridge students and faculty have joined forces with Bet Tzedek to expand legal aid for undocumented parents of CSUN students.
CSUN, Bet Tzedek Expand Legal Aid for Students’ Undocumented Parents
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, the family of a missing 16 year old Hart High student is asking the community for help in locating him. Plus, dust off your resumes: COC is hosting its Fall semester Job & Career Fair soon. Watch these stories and more on tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Monday, September 18, 2017
The Governing Board of the Saugus Union School District is extending the deadline to apply for the 7-11 Advisory Committee through Thursday, September 21 at 4 p.m.
Saugus School District Extends Deadline to Apply for Surplus Committee
After letting an early two-set lead slip away, the TMU Mustangs volleyball team rallied from behind to secure a 3-2 win over the San Diego Christian Hawks Saturday night.
Mustangs Volleyball Team Rallies to Beat San Diego Christian 3-2
The Master's University and Bethesda University battled 110 minutes to a scoreless draw in double-overtime Saturday afternoon on Reese Field.
TMU, Bethesda Men’s Soccer Teams Battle to 0-0 Draw in Double Overtime
The TMU Mustangs men's and women's cross-country teams raced in the open division of UC Riverside’s event Saturday.
TMU Cross Country Impresses at UC Riverside Invitational
The TMU Mustangs volleyball team rallied to win sets four and five against Arizona Christian Friday, taking the match 3-2 on Bross Court.
TMU Volleyball Edges Arizona Christian 3-2
The Gentle Barn is celebrating its 18th year of spreading compassion and hope for animals around the world from its current locations in Santa Clarita, California, Knoxville, Tennessee and the newest animal sanctuary set to open September 24 near St. Louis.
Gentle Barn Animal Rescue Sanctuary Turns 18
“Wildwood Canyon: The Resilience of Nature,” a photography exhibit by artist Kristina Jacob, will be on display at the Jo Anne Darcy Library in Canyon Country from September 26 through January 24.
Sept. 26: Wildwood Canyon Photo Exhibit at Darcy Library
October is National Arts and Humanities Month and to celebrate the city of Santa Clarita will host ARTober during the month.
October is ‘Artober’ in Santa Clarita
College of the Canyons will host the one-day conference, “It’s Still Happening Right Here! Human Trafficking,” on Friday, Sept. 22 from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Sept. 22: COC Hosts Human Trafficking Conference
College of the Canyons hosted the 2017 California Community College Athletic Association Southern California Preview on Friday, attracting a field of more than 500 cross-country runners to the course at Central Park in Santa Clarita.
Canyons Women Take Second at CCCAA SoCal Preview
The Dodgers enter the final leg of their 10-game road trip (4-2) tonight with the first of four against the Philadelphia Phillies, with Clayton Kershaw on the mound.
Dodgers and Kershaw Open 4-Game Stand in Philadelphia
Family members report they have found Elias Ortiz, a 16-year-old Newhall resident who had been missing since Saturday night.
Newhall Teen Missing Since Saturday Found
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is recommending that six of 27 national monuments under review by the Trump administration be reduced in size, with changes to several others proposed, but the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument is not on Zinke's shrink list.
San Gabriel National Monument Not on Interior Secretary’s Shrink List
The Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce will move from its present location at City Hall to new office space at 28494 Westinghouse Place, Suite 114, Valencia 91355, on October 12.
October 12: SCV Chamber Moves to New Office
The Modesto Nuts pulled away late and swept the California League Championship Series with an 8-1 victory over the JetHawks in Game 3 on Friday night at John Thurman Field, ending the season for the Lancaster team.
JetHawks Swept in CLCS to End 2017 Season
New stencils on Santa Clarita crosswalks are part of the city's 'Heads Up' pedestrian safety program.
‘Heads Up’ Crosswalk Stencils Boost Santa Clarita’s Pedestrian Safety Effort
Senate Constitutional Amendment 12, or SCA-12, authored by Senator Tony Mendoza (D-Los Angeles) with Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita) the principal co-author, has passed by the State Senate on a bipartisan vote of 27-7.
Mendoza-Wilk Supervisors Expansion Bill Clears State Senate
The California Highway Patrol's Newhall station screened 375 vehicles in a DUI checkpoint in Stevenson Ranch Friday night but made no arrests.
CHP Screens 375 Vehicles in Stevenson Ranch DUI Checkpoint
A man died of a suspected heroin overdose in the 17000 block of Sierra Highway in Canyon Country late Friday night, according to SCV Sheriff's Station officials.
Canyon Country Man Dead of Suspected Heroin Overdose
1962 - Articles of incorporation filed for Golden State Memorial Hospital on Lyons Avenue [story]
1879 - First official Newhall School building erected near Walnut & Ninth streets [story]
While not perfect, SB 54 kept intact our ability to maintain partnerships with federal law enforcement officials who help us in the fight against gangs, drugs and human trafficking. It also retains the controlled access that the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement has to our jails.
Changes to ‘Sanctuary’ Bill Made it Better | Commentary by Sheriff Jim McDonnell
In the conceptual planning stages for decades, the extension of Lyons Avenue to Dockweiler Drive could finally be shifting out of neutral.
Plans Are Out for Lyons Extension to Dockweiler
1872 - Sulphur Springs School District established by Mitchells and Langs [story]
Jack Shine, founder and president of American Beauty Homes and a key figure in the development of affordable housing for veterans in the Santa Clarita Valley, died Thursday. He was 82.
SCV Home Builder, Philanthropist Jack Shine Dies at 82
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today reiterated his call for consumers to take action to protect their identities in light of the recent Equifax data breach, and provided links to do so online.
AG Urges Consumers to Take Action After Equifax Data Breach
The Santa Clarita City Council's Public Safety Committee will meet at City Hall to review preliminary plans for the new Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station on Tuesday, September 19 starting at 3 p.m.
September 19: City Public Safety Officials Review Plans for New Sheriff’s Station
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, see the Grand Finale of NASA's Cassini mission. Plus, Fair Oaks Community Elementary students not only got a "bag of books" on Friday, they also got to see their principal and vice principal get a shaving cream pie in their face. Watch these stories and more on tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Friday, September 15, 2017
The 15th annual Rubber Ducky Festival to benefit the Samuel Dixon Family Health Centers will splash down at Bridgeport Park in Valencia on Saturday, October 14 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
October 14: 15th Annual Rubber Ducky Festival for Sam Dixon Centers
A teleconference meeting of the California Enterprise Development Authority is scheduled for Thursday, September 21 starting at 10:30 a.m.
September 21: California Enterprise Development Authority Teleconference