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Ventura River Arundo Removal Demonstration Project

Under contract with the Ventura County Watershed Protection District (VCWPD), Aspen prepared an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Ventura River Arundo Removal Demonstration Project, which was sponsored by a consortium of federal, State, and local agencies and public and private interest groups known as the Ventura County Arundo Task Force. The project involved a five-acre site along the east bank of the Ventura River near the community of Casitas Springs.  The purpose of the project was to evaluate four different types of Arundo donax (commonly referred to as giant reed, or giant cane) eradication techniques for the purposes of assessing their overall physical effectiveness, as well as their cost effectiveness, over a seven-year period. The techniques evaluated included: mechanical removal followed by hand application and re-applications (“painting”) of an herbicide approved for aquatic use; foliar spray application and re-applications of an herbicide approved for aquatic use; above-ground hand removal without application of an herbicide until re-growth; and surface and sub-surface hand removal and re-removal without application of an herbicide at any time. The project additionally included revegetation with native plant species. 

Preparation of the EIR included analysis of the 30 resource/issue-specific subject areas as required by the “Ventura County Initial Study Assessment Guidelines,” with emphasis on biological resources, water resources, and noise. Due to the proposed use of a glyphosate-based herbicide, the impact assessment for public health was also a key issue. In addition to the proposed project, three alternatives were evaluated as well.  Significant and unavoidable impacts related to noise were identified for the project during its first 30 days of implementation due to the operation of heavy equipment and chippers that exceeded Ventura County’s adopted thresholds of significance for construction-related noise.  

In addition to completion of the project’s Draft and Final EIRs, Aspen was additionally responsible for all EIR noticing and distribution, preparation of the project’s Mitigation Monitoring Program, and assistance with preparation of the VCWPD’s Staff Report and Findings, as well as the required Statement of Overriding Considerations for significant and unavoidable impacts related to noise. Due to implementation constraints associated with not being able to work in the bed of the Ventura River during the “rainy season” it was necessary to expedite the project’s environmental review process. Aspen completed the entire environmental review documentation process, including EIR approval and certification by the VCWPD Board of Supervisors, within a seven month time frame. 

Practice areas: Infrastructure and Public Works

Services provided for this project: