Our History

Friends of the Santa Clara River is a 501(c)(3) public interest organization formed in 1993. The impetus for forming Friends occurred when a comprehensive river planning effort, known as the Santa Clara River Enhancement and Management Plan, was begun by the State Coastal Conservancy in the early 1990s.  We were eventually able to secure a seat on the Plan Steering Committee and participated in this effort for 13 years.  We have been a member of the Santa Clara River Steelhead Coalition since its inception and currently provide monetary support for the Santa Clara River coordinator position under the Integrated Regional Water Management Plan.

Since its inception, Friends has concentrated on a range of issues involving protection of the entire river in both Ventura and Los Angeles Counties.  These efforts have included opposition to many large urban development projects involving intrusion into the river’s floodplain and channelization of the river, requiring detailed analyses and testimony to decision makers as part of environmental review processes. In some cases, this opposition has involved litigation in both state and federal courts.

Over the years, FSCR has done extensive community outreach and given educational presentations to groups and organizations including the League of Women Voters, California Lutheran University, and Oxnard College.  We have participated for 24 consecutive years in Patagonia’s annual Salmon Run, and in 1997 were the recipients of the proceeds from the event.

From 2004 to 2007, FSCR conducted a three-year volunteer water quality monitoring program under a grant from the State Water Resources Control Board in support of the Santa Clara River Nitrogen TMDL.

In 2001, FSCR became the first organization to be granted property by the State Coastal Conservancy under the Santa Clara River Parkway Project.  This 220-acre area, located three miles upstream of Santa Paula on the south bank of the river, is known as the Hedrick Ranch Nature Area.  Operating under several grants, and utilizing community volunteers, we have removed invasive plants and established native vegetation on approximately 80 acres of the property.  We have also participated in similar restoration projects within adjacent habitat areas.