View All Posts

Apr 07

About Sustainable Ventura

Posted on April 7, 2020 at 2:59 PM by Michlynn St. John

Ocean day 2019 (32)
Ventura takes an active leadership role in protecting its natural resources and promoting a quality environment. In collaboration with strategic partnerships, Ventura has one of the state’s highest recycling rates, uses solar power to generate some of its electricity, is a leader in sustainable growth, and conserves and protects our community resources. Through the support of the community and the leadership of the Ventura City Council, the City has pursued programs that promote economic, social, and environmental sustainability.

In an effort to improve the City’s environmental performance, the City Council passed the “Green Initiative” in 2007. This 10-point action plan was designed to reduce environmental impacts from the City’s municipal operations, including reducing energy and vehicle fuel use; developing a green purchasing policy; educating employees about green practices; and forming a Green Team to help implement these programs. Currently, all 10 points of the action plan have been achieved and the City continues to implement environmentally sustainable practices.

Here are some of our programs that support us in achieving these accomplishments:

1) Recycling & Solid Waste Management

  • We divert solid waste from the landfill through residential and commercial waste reduction programs, far exceeding the state mandate of 50% diversion.
  • Develop educational opportunities for schools and businesses to reduce waste through educational offerings and infrastructure
  • Encourage food waste prevention through donating food to those in need, finding agricultural partners to offload food scraps, and implementing commercial food waste composting programs
  • Compost and mulch all curbside yard waste, which is applied to local agriculture fields, reducing water and fertilizer use.
  • Encourage reducing and reusing materials through online campaigns, engaging videos, and social media interactions. 

2) Energy Conservation & Renewable Energy

  • Use solar panels at the City Maintenance Yard to produce 45% of its electricity needs (about 180,000 kilowatt hours per year – the amount used by 30 homes).
  • Produce over 2 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually by renewable waste gas co-generation, which meets 20% of the Water Reclamation Facility’s energy use.

3) Climate Change

  • Host community events to facilitate public discussions about climate change and potential impacts on Ventura.
  • Recognized as a Climate Action Leader by the Climate Registry for conducting annual greenhouse gas emissions inventories for all City operations.
  • Reduced annual greenhouse gas emissions related to City operations by 14% since 2007.
  • Set a goal to reduce community-wide emissions by 40% by 2030..

4) Stormwater Quality

  • Install screens in storm drain inlets near high litter areas to keep trash out of coastal waters.
  • Reduce average beach closures for bacteria contamination between Surfer’s Point and the Ventura Pier to 0-1 per year, compared with an average of 11 postings per year from 1998-2008.
  • Received grades of A’s and B’s at all Ventura beaches according to the Heal the Bay Beach Report Card. Two of Ventura’s beaches, Surfers’ Knoll and San Buenaventura Beach, achieved “honor roll” status.

5) Water Quality & Conservation

  • Provided over 2,000 water audits to support wise water use.
  • Educate over 3,000 school children annually with conservation education.
  • Completed a project to track water usage and leak detection for City parks and residents.

6) Household Hazardous Waste

  • Collect over 600,000 pounds of hazardous and electronic waste annually from Ventura household and businesses through the City’s Household Hazardous Waste Collection Program.
  • Provide household battery recycling containers for public use at various City facilities; over 10 tons of batteries are collected annually.

7) Air Quality

  • Initiated a “no idling” policy for City vehicles to reduce vehicle fuel use and emissions.
  • Use GPS software to improve City vehicle performance and routing, which reduces fuel usage and emissions.

8) Wastewater Quality

  • Reduce energy demand by 373 kilowatts at the Water Reclamation Facility through operational efficiencies.
  • Use biodegradable odor controls instead of inorganic chemicals at the Water Reclamation Facility.

9) Transportation

  • Replaced City fleet sedans with 21 hybrid vehicles saving over 2,800 gallons of fuel per year.
  • Updated Bicycle Master Plan to include bike friendly practices.
  • Received approximately $500,000 in grants for safer biking and walking routes, bike racks and increased street lighting as well as safe biking education programs.

10) Green Building

  • All new residential and commercial structures reviewed for compliance with the 2019 California Green Building Code (CalGreen).
  • Encourage and support developers that chose to go above and beyond the existing CalGreen standards.

11) Socioeconomic

  • Stimulate local growth in the “green” economy by actively recruiting green businesses and jobs.
  • Offer incentives to attract new companies to Ventura and provide resources to help local businesses succeed.
  • Provide free assessments to help businesses improve their environmental performance, reduce waste and save money.

12) Open Space & Habitats

  • Maintain over 760 acres of parks and open space to promote outdoor recreation, healthy living, and appreciation for Ventura’s beautiful natural setting.
  • Removed over 50 tons of trash and litter from the Ventura and Santa Clara River estuaries through community and volunteer partnerships.
  • Support the Ventura Hillsides Conservancy in their efforts to preserve and restore the hillside and open space resources of Ventura.

13) Civic Engagement & Environmental Education

  • Provide environmental education to over 7,000 public and private school students each year.
  • Present annual “Green School Award” to a Ventura school that demonstrates exemplary efforts to help the environment.
  • Present annual “Environmental Excellence Award” with the Chamber of Commerce Poinsettia Awards to a Ventura business that incorporates environmental stewardship into its business practices.
  • Broadcast more than 2,000 hours per year of Cable TV programming covering local environmental education and outreach on VTV (Channel 15).

14) Public Health & Safety

  • Operate a Hazardous Material (HAZMAT) emergency response truck – purchased through grant funds – to minimize the impact of hazardous material spills.