VENTURA, Calif. – New courtyard planters are being installed at the Government Center to reduce storm water runoff and minimize dense plantings near buildings that encourage rodent habitat. The project was designed with drought-tolerant plantings and a bio-swale to capture storm water runoff that will percolate into the groundwater system.
The natural mulch used in the planters retains soil moisture and discourages weed growth. This landscape project is also adding to the aesthetics of the campus. Similar projects were installed at the Juvenile Justice Center and the East County Sheriff Station. More will be installed as time and funding permits.
The landscaping project is being overseen by the Housekeeping and Grounds Division of the County’s General Service Agency. Over the past 11 years, the division has found many ways to save water. They include:
- Planting more drought-tolerant plants throughout County-owned facilities.
- Installing a centralized irrigation control system to control and monitor water consumption at County facilities. This includes a current project is to install irrigation controls at the East County Sheriff Station. The controls allow for better monitoring of leaks, more accurate scheduling and time efficient changes. The irrigation control system also takes advantage of favorable weather conditions. They were installed at sites throughout the County to preclude watering in the rain and reduce watering during cooler months. The system also communicates with the California Irrigation Management Information System.
- Replacing older sprinkler heads with more water efficient types.
- Rezoning the irrigation system to isolate the shrubs and water plants with similar water requirements.
- The County stopped watering the majority of its turf areas in July 2015.
- Installed crushed brick, wood mulch and synthetic mulch at many facilities. This year, the majority of the grass near the parking lot fingers at the Government Center will be removed and rubber mulch installed. A grant from CalRecyle funded the cost of the mulch.
- Installed of artificial turf and a native gardens.
- Injected our trees and roots with nutrients and supplements to reduce stress and infection caused by the drought. Every tree is assessed for health by a licensed arborist every three years.
To replenish our ground water and to keep pollutants from entering the storm drains, the County has teamed up with the SurfRider Foundation and the Public Works Agency Watershed Protection District. Joint projects include installing pervious concrete throughout the campus, an ocean-friendly garden and the new planters.
For additional information on the County’s landscaping, visit:
http://www.ventura.org/gsa/facilities-and-materials/housekeeping-solid-waste-grounds and click on the Landscape Plan link.