Planting trees and using recycled water, for Ventura’s future

Filling the “gator bag” with recycled water to maintain our beautiful community landscape.
Filling the “gator bag” with recycled water to maintain our beautiful community landscape.

Article and photo by the City of Ventura.

Imagine your neighborhood without a single tree.  Or your favorite park, hiking trail, or beachfront promenade without the aesthetics and shade of our urban forest.  Much of Ventura’s charm and character are the result of our beautiful community landscape that is fundamental to our health.

Trees improve our quality of life and environment in several important ways.  They help clean the air by “catching” airborne pollutants such as carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, and by producing oxygen which helps replace the oxygen we, and our vehicles, consume.  Planting trees remains one of the least expensive, most effective means of drawing excess CO₂ from the atmosphere.  Trees also cool our streets, lowering temperatures in the shade by about 10 degrees.  Aesthetically, street trees unify a streetscape and provide visual interest for pedestrians and motorists.  Large, mature street trees are considered the most important indicator of attractiveness in a community.

Ventura’s Parks and Recreation Department is responsible for more than 30,000 city trees, and during the last year it added 225 new trees to our tree inventory citywide.  These, along with trees on private property and in the city’s Barranca make up the rich and varied mosaic that is Ventura’s urban forest.

Mature and newly established trees can be responsibly maintained during drought conditions.   Ventura’s Urban Forestry Program uses approximately 24,000 gallons of recycled water each month to water newly planted city trees.  City trees that receive recycled water are easily identified by the “gator bags” wrapped around their base with a purple sticker which reads, “Irrigated with Recycled Water.  Do not drink.  No beber.”  The City also uses recycled water at the golf courses along Olivas Park Drive and the Marina Park area, for irrigating trees and landscape areas at the historic Olivas Adobe and for landscaping areas at the Ventura Harbor hotels.

In June, Ventura Water launched the Residential Recycled Water Mobile Reuse Program – a new tool to help homeowners keep their landscape alive during the drought.  The program provides customers with high quality recycled water which is strictly monitored to ensure it meets quality standards for all non-potable uses.   Customers can obtain recycled water after attending a free training class at the Ventura Water Reclamation Facility and paying an annual $75 permit fee; after which they may pick up 5 to 300 gallons of recycled water per visit, for use with landscape irrigation, dust control or soil compaction.

Sign-up by calling Customer Care at 667-6500 or visit www.cityofventura.net/water/mobile-reuse-program.  In celebration of the City’s 150th birthday, the first 150 participants will receive a complimentary 20-gallon tree “gator bag”. This program allows our community to reuse as much recycled water as possible and supports our goal of providing a safe, reliable and adequate water supply today, tomorrow and into the future.

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