San Miguel Island reopening to the public

Island hoppers, rejoice: San Miguel Island will be reopened to visitation on Tuesday.

The Department of Defense, which owns the island through Naval Base Ventura County, closed the island to visitation in April 2014 due to the possibility of remnants of unexploded ordnance being present. San Miguel had been used as part of a bombing range during World War II.

The Navy completed an Explosive Safety Risk Assessment and found that visitation can be safely resumed as of May 17. 

San Miguel Island is the furthest west of the Channel Islands National Park, 55 miles from Ventura Harbor. The island is home to the Painted Cave and a caliche forest of sand casts of ancient tree trunks and roots. Elephant seals arrive in the spring and summer to molt on San Miguel Island beaches. Prior to its closure, 1,000 visitors and campers visited annually, though the trip is a long one — four to five hours one way.

Clean Water Act lawsuit possible for Santa Paula landfill

The Ventura Regional Sanitation District has been notified by the Environmental Defense Center of Santa Barbara of its intent to sue over alleged violations of the Clean Water Act at the Toland Road Landfill near Santa Paula.

The Center alleges that the landfill, a 161-acre site, illegally discharges directly into O’Leary Creek storm water containing pollutants above water-quality benchmarks.

“According to its own data, Toland Road Landfill has discharged storm water with unacceptable levels of pollutants like arsenic and zinc for the past five years,” said Maggie Hall, staff attorney at the Environmental Defense Center.  “These pollutants contaminate the Santa Clara River watershed, threatening our communities and the wildlife that rely on this important resource.”

O’Leary Creek flows into the Santa Clara River, which flows into the Pacific. 

Sandy Warren, management analyst, says that the District has no comment at this time as data received in the notice letter is under review.

The Clean Water Act requires a 60-day notice of intent to sue before lawsuits can be filed. 

Port of Hueneme’s power project underway

Phase II is set to begin on the Port of Hueneme’s Shore Power Project, completing the system that will allow refrigerated cargo vessels to run engines from grid electricity instead of diesel fuel.

Congresswoman Julia Brownley, D-Westlake Village, secured last year a $500,000 grant for the project, which “is anticipated to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

“The Port of Hueneme is an essential economic driver to our region and I am proud to have worked with community stakeholders and port leaders to support the grant for Phase II of the Shore Power Project,” said Brownley. 

According to the Port of Hueneme, Oxnard Harbor District, anticipated reductions include a 92 percent reduction in particulate matter, 98 percent reduction in nitrogen oxide and a 55 percent reduction in greenhouse gases.  

Phase 1 of the project went online in April 2014 and has been successfully used by Del Monte Fresh and Hamburg Süd ships, which carry products for Chiquita Fresh.

Ventura eateries take part in Police Week

Seven restaurants in the city of Ventura will participate in National Police Week by giving 20 percent of the meal’s total (with flier) to the Ventura Police Community Foundation between Sunday, May 15, and Saturday, May 21. 

Participating restaurants include Spencer MacKenzie’s (May 15), Chick-fil-A (May 16), California Pizza Kitchen (May 17), Jersey Mike’s (Victoria Avenue location, May 18), Casa de Soria (May 19), Red Brick Pizza (May 20) and Two Trees Cafe (May 21).  

To download and print the flier needed to take part in the fundraising, go to www.venturapolicefoundation.org.

— Chris O’Neal