McGrath State Beach and Campground, the oft-flooded, popular camping and recreational area in Oxnard, Calif., is primed for a facelift through the collaboration of several like-minded organizations beginning in 2015 after an intensive feasibility study is completed.

According to the Ventura County Reporter, the concept is to move either the entirety or a large portion of the McGrath campgrounds south into an area less likely to be flooded while the remainder of the park would be rehabilitated and reclaimed. Such a move would turn back the clock on what used to be one of California’s great estuaries through the restoration of upward of 35 acres of pristine environmental habitat.

Of primary importance for the project is the restoration of habitat once used by the Southern California steelhead and the tidewater goby, two species of fish that had thrived in the region but are now considered endangered. Hundreds of species of birds, both migratory and native, will make use of the restored estuary, as well as many mammals and other native species.
Spearheading the project is the Wishtoyo Foundation and its Ventura Coastkeeper Program, which is managing the so-called Santa Clara River Estuary Habitat Restoration and Enhancement Feasibility Study, a detailed project description that will include all tasks to be performed, conducted in partnership with the California State Parks, Channel Coast District, and the California Department of Fish & Wildlife.
To fund the study, $947,000 has been raised, principally through the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Fisheries Restoration Grant Program and in part by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the McGrath Trustee Council, with in-kind contributions from California State Parks and Wishtoyo Foundation.


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