Happy Valley Bioswale
The Happy Valley Bioswale is a natural landscape designed to protect our watershed by removing pollutants from stormwater runoff. It mimics the natural processes for cleaning stormwater. It was constructed in 2016 on the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy’s Ojai Meadows Preserve in Meiners Oaks, CA.
The Ventura River Watershed is the area of land from the tall peaks surrounding the Ojai Valley all the way down to the ocean. Water that is caught in the watershed is funneled down through creeks finding its way into the Ventura River which eventually drains into the ocean. The Happy Valley Bioswale is a part of this watershed.
It is especially important to keep stormwater clean in the Ojai Valley because all of our drinking water in this valley comes from rainfall. As the Ventura River Watershed gathers the rainwater, it either flows into Lake Casitas, percolates deep into the ground to be stored in natural aquifers or flows to the ocean. Ojai’s drinking water is then either pumped from Lake Casitas or from wells deep in the ground.
As stormwater flows through the bioswale, grasses and other plants slow it down allowing sediment, nutrients and stormwater pollutants to be filtered naturally. Plants in the bioswale play an important role in this natural filtration process by metabolizing pollutants and excess nutrients. They also help stabilize the soil and prevent erosion during storm events.
large debris, trash
Stormwater is diverted from an existing storm drain pipe beneath the sidewalk.
A Baffle Box at the entrance removes trash, nutrients, sediments and other stormwater pollutants.
Water flows through plants and soil that clean the water naturally. The plant roots absorb water and excess nutrients, the soil traps sediment and metals, habitats thrive.
Treated water goes back into the existing storm drain pipe that leads directly to the Happy Valley Drain, a tributary of the Ventura River.
Native Plants and Wildlife
Adapted to our local climate, native plants do not need supplemental water or fertilizer once they are established. They provide many benefits to our local environment and ecosystem, such as absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and providing shelter and food for native wildlife.
A layering of tree, shrubbery, and ground cover create a safe haven for wildlife. Native food sources offered throughout the year include pollen, seeds, grasses and berries. This provides food for wildlife, including our native bees, butterflies, beetles and birds — all of which are important pollinators.