Watershed Protection District

Santa Clara River Estuary

The Ventura County Watershed Protection District (District) was formed, in part, to provide for the control and conservation of flood and stormwaters, and for the protection of watercourses, watersheds, public highways, and life and property in the District from damage or destruction from these waters. The District was originally established on September 12, 1944 as the "Ventura County Flood Control District".  On January 1, 2003, the name was changed to the Ventura County Watershed Protection District to reflect changes in community values, regulatory requirements, and funding opportunities. The name change also reflected the District’s desire to emphasize integrated watershed management and solve flood control problems with environmentally sound approaches. The District’s mission is to protect life, property, watercourses, watersheds, and public infrastructure from the dangers and damages associated with flood and stormwaters. Goals of the District include:

  • Comprehensive, long range watershed planning;
  • Collaboration with watershed stakeholders;
  • Administration of adopted regulations, policies and resolutions;
  • Responsible and accountable use of public resources; and
  • Excellence in public service

Map A ZonesThe District’s ongoing activities are funded through property taxes, benefit assessments, and land development fees. To facilitate management of revenues and projects, the District was divided into four zones, roughly corresponding to the major river systems in the county. Zone 1 essentially follows the boundaries of the Ventura River Watershed and coastal drainages in the western part of the county. Zone 2 basically follows the boundaries of the Santa Clara River Watershed and local coastal drainages in the cities of San Buenaventura and Oxnard and the north half drainages located in Lockwood Valley. Zone 3 essentially follows the boundaries of the Calleguas Creek Watershed and its tributaries. Zone 4 is a mixture of Malibu coastal drainages in the southern part of the county and the relatively undeveloped Cuyama River Watershed in the northern part of the county. Benefit assessment monies collected from each zone are dedicated to support operations and maintenance and NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) permit activities within that zone. Property tax monies raised within a zone are spent on construction projects and to support District planning studies within that zone.

The District’s authority over its jurisdictional channels is established through a number of ordinances and policies passed by its Board of Supervisors. The primary ordinance establishing District authority and the requirement to obtain permits for any encroachment into District jurisdictional channels, including rights of way, is Ventura County Watershed Protection Ordinance WP-2 (855 Kb, PDF), an ordinance relating to the Protection and Regulation of Flood Control Facilities and Watercourses. The District also implements the Flood Plain Management Ordinance 3841 (PDF, 61 KB) on behalf of the County of Ventura to ensure compliance with the National Flood Insurance Program. This includes permit review for structures built in the floodplain and evaluation of site plans for developments that include identified floodplains. For incorporated jurisdictions, each city serves as the floodplain manager for its sphere of influence. Click the Map image on this page to download an image of the District's Jurisdictional or "redline" channels in JPG (and in color) format (6.9 mb).

Administrative documents, central to District operations, can be found here:

  • WP Act: The WP Act is California Water Code Appendix, Chapter 46. (pdf, 475 kb)
  • MapA: Map A is a map showing Watershed Protection District Channels (Formerly Flood Control District) as approved in 1972 and revised to show current channel names. (pdf, 313,554 mb)
  • Table 2: Table 2 lists originally adopted channels in 1960 (by zones) as revised in 1994. (tif, 475 kb)