VENTURA HARBOR — It seems the timing couldn’t be better for new drought tolerant, water friendly landscaping and other eco improvements to be made tothe 50-year old harbor.
“We are breathing new life into the harbor, so we can all enjoy the beauty of being here,” said Ventura Port District Property Manager Robin Baer.
Baer has been researching ways to cut down on watering, fertilizing and maintenance while creating a comfortable and beautiful place for visitors, boaters and those who work at the busy port.
“We started the landscaping project two years ago and it is now really taking shape,” she said. “In fact, I have received positive comments from locals, boaters and visitors about the new look. And, timing couldn’t be better with the terrible drought we are experiencing.”
Upon discovering that some of the trees and plants surrounding the harbor were diseased, Baer discovered it was widespread in the general area. She then had all the diseased and windburn trees and plants removed.
“I went looking for plants and trees that need little water and were native to the environment,” Baer explained.
Baer said that conserving water and being environmentally conscious was her goal as well as saving money on upkeep. In addition to native plants, she found recycled tire landscape mulch. It looks like wood bark but lasts 10 years and comes in many colors.
“Wood bark turns color and only lasts for three months,” she said. “The tire mulch holds more moisture as well, so we use even less water.”
As part of the refurbishing plan, Baer reached out to the master lessees in the harbor. Ventura Boatyard responded by replacing trees and plants that weren’t drought tolerant with plants that complement the new landscaping.
Ventura West Marina is currently refurbishing their parking lot and green spaces and replacing the old and wind burned foliage with natives.
Baer is keeping the palm trees as they do well in the local conditions.
Old hedges that surrounded the rock revetment in front of Island Packers Cruises have been cut down and planter borders installed to reduce the migration of seeds that may get transferred to the offshore islands.
“The tire mulch and the stone borders contain the planters so there isn’t run off into the harbor water,” she said. “We have used blue tire mulch to create ‘water’ features without using water.”
SoCal Edison provided new LED lighting that all the master lessees are now using in all the buildings, she added.
All Ventura Harbor Village restrooms have been refit with hand dryers and auto flushes. LED rope lights are being installed around all the gangways to illuminate and improve safety at night.
“All the improvements are good for reducing our costs and usage of electricity and water,” Baer said. “We are enhancing the environment, but being smart about our choices.”