There are 42 miles of coastline in Ventura County. Coastal resources are significant scenic resources, home to endangered and threatened species and habitats, and contain areas with cultural, paleontological, and archeological resources.
Beaches add significant value to quality of life for both their aesthetic beauty as well as free and safe access to leisure and recreational opportunities. Additionally, sections of State Route 1 and US Highway 101 along the coast are state eligible for official designation as “scenic” through the Caltrans California Scenic Highway Program. These scenic eligible highways offer outstanding views of the Pacific Ocean, as well as the foothills and mountainous areas on the inland side of coastal viewsheds.
Beaches also provide coastal habitats containing rich biodiversity. For example, the Mugu Lagoon has the richest biological diversity of all the coastal marsh areas in the county. It provides habitat for more than 30 “special-status species” and shelters the remnants of many plant, bird, fish, and insect populations that once inhabited preexisting lagoons. Ventura County is also home to several coastal wetlands including McGrath Lake, the Ormond Beach area, and the mouths of the Ventura and Santa Clara Rivers.
The coastal and interior zones of Ventura Country contain areas with marine and terrestrial fossils that are among the best in Southern California. Paleontological resources are present in many of the geologic formations in the county.
Through the Coastal Act, the State mandates that coastal communities manage the conservation and development of coastal resources through creation and adoption of a Local Coastal Program. Ventura County’s Coastal Area Plan and the Coastal Zoning Ordinance together constitute the Local Coastal Program for unincorporated areas of the county. The primary goal of the Local Coastal Program is to ensure that the County’s land use plans, policies, and actions meet the requirements of and implement the provisions and policies of the Coastal Act within the county.
Policies related to coastal resources are contained in the Coastal Area Plan. The Coastal Area Plan covers the land within the Coastal Zone Boundary along the Pacific Coast. The Coastal Area Plan addresses shoreline access and public trails; development in scenic areas, coastal hazards, and coastal bluffs; environmentally sensitive habitat areas; cultural resources; transportation; and public services.
For policies concerning sea level rise, see Chapter 7, Hazards and Safety Element.