Ventura River Estuary

Ventura river estuary

by Visit Ventura
Header image by Leslie Collier

Salt-Laced Serenity Beside the Ventura River

Here on the northern edge of Ventura, just back from the Pacific, the world is erased to nothing but dappled shade, tinctures of cool, and the whisper of leaves applauding the briny wind. Just away from this quiet trail, the Ventura River shines in the sun. A Great Blue Heron picks its way across a mudflat like a fussy grandmother wearing new tennis shoes.

great heron ventura harbor river

Welcome to the Ventura River Estuary, home to Great Blue Herons, Snowy Egrets, Pied Billed Grebes, Cormorants, American Coots, endangered Steelhead Trout and something equally precious.

“Places like the Ventura River Estuary are special because they’re disappearing,” says Dan Hulst, Stewardship Manager for the Ventura Land Trust, which helps oversee the estuary. “Less than twenty percent of historical estuarine habitat remains in Southern California. We’re here to stop this from happening to the Ventura River Estuary. Plants and animals deserve their space, too.”

A fine thing, but keeping the estuary unspoiled is no easy feat. According to Hulst, VLT, with the help of countless volunteers, has hauled over 2 million pounds of trash out of the Ventura River. No surprise, seeing that the Ventura River Estuary is the last stop before the river meets the sea, and plenty of tributaries drain into the Ventura River, including Matilija Creek and Canada Larga Creek.

But all this, while critical, is just numbers and names that drift away as you move along wooded trails tousled by sea breezes.

Hulst knows.

“A crisp morning, with birds in the estuary and waves breaking off Ventura Point, is the most beautiful thing in the world.”

For more information, go to The Ventura Land Trust website. If you would like to volunteer (wonderful!), take a look at the events page. No dogs in the preserve, please.

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