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Camp Chaffee Coyote Creek debris removal work complete

101217 pvh camp chaffee composite
Ojai Valley News photos by Perry Van Houten
The dry weather crossing on Camp Chaffee Road Sept. 12, prior to work on Coyote Creek (left) and the crossing Oct. 11, after vegetation and sediment removal downstream from Camp Chaffee Road.
Perry Van Houten, Ojai Valley News reporter
Ahead of the rainy season, a $200,000 project to clear a section of creek in Foster Park has been completed.
The Coyote Creek debris removal effort began Sept. 21 in the tiny community of Camp Chaffee.
“We finished all the field work on Sept. 29,” said Karl Novak, operations and maintenance deputy director for the Ventura County Watershed Protection District (VCWPD).
The dry weather crossing on Camp Chaffee Road became impassable following heavy rains Feb. 17, when a torrent of water, mud and debris backed up the creek, inundating for several weeks 100 feet of the only public access into the neighborhood.
Residents said keeping the crossing open was a matter of safety in the event of an emergency.
A crew of five using an excavator and front-end loader worked to clear a section of creek downstream from the road crossing.
That portion of Coyote Creek runs through private property, although the road is the county's.
“We removed surrounding vegetation to a width of 10 to 20 feet, and removed 500 cubic yards of sediment, allowing the water to drain,” Novak said. “It should solve the problem for now, but it's not a permanent solution. Maintenance will be required in the future,” he added.
The work was funded by a grant from the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service, $80,000 of in-kind funding from the county and $24,000 in matching funds raised by Camp Chaffee residents.
“It's not easy to coordinate a neighborhood to come together to raise money, but the residents did a great job stepping forward,” said Ventura County District 1 Supervisor Steve Bennett, whose office obtained the funding and dispatched the work detail. “I think the neighbors who participated found out that life gets better when people get together.”
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