Santa Clara River breaks through McGrath State Beach sandbar

By George Miller

There wasn’t a huge amount of rain over the weekend, but it was significant. In fact, it was enough to increase the Santa Clara river flow to break through the sandbar at the river mouth. This drained the lagoon which has been flooding the park facilities, rendering them unusable and damaging them.

 Thanks to photographer Donna Hendricks ( ) for these nice photos.



Lagoon: before. A sandbar was blocking the mouth of the Santa Clara River at the Oxnard-Ventura border. Santa Cruz Island can be seen about 20 miles away. Photo: Donna Hendricks.



Lagoon: after. A sandbar was washed away by the Santa Clara River and/or surf at the Oxnard-Ventura border. Photo: Donna Hendricks.

The cycle will likely repeat itself with the lagoon and park facilities, until heavy rains once again break the sandbar berm.  The outflow from the nearby wastewater processing plant seems to make things worse. The consensus seems to be spending a lot of money to move the park facilities south to higher ground. Some have said it’s way too expensive to make a multi-million dollar move when a short time with a bulldozer once or twice a year could solve the problem.


Past McGrath State Beach story:

Droughts cause floods at beloved McGrath State Beach

Droughts cause floods at beloved McGrath State Beach

By Tim Pompey- There’s good news and bad news for McGrath State Beach, that popular vacation alcove tucked along the Oxnard coast. First, the good news. The berm in the Santa Clara River that has caused extensive flooding at the campsites for nearly eighteen months has finally broken. On Monday, February 10, the water rose […]


George Miller is Publisher of and a “retired” operations management consultant residing in Oxnard

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4 Responses to Santa Clara River breaks through McGrath State Beach sandbar

  1. Frank February 10, 2016 at 6:12 am

    Let’s state all the “real” facts now… The reason the campground is flooded is not because there is a significant amount of water flow. The reason is because of the city of Ventura’s water treatment plan is allowed to release the water into the Santa Clara river.

    • Frank February 10, 2016 at 6:17 am

      The City of Ventura should be billed for the damage to the campground AND be billed to breach the sandbar. Historically the water level was never as high as it has been in the last 15 years. Every so often there would be enough rainfall to naturally breach the sandbar… but then of course there was no massive release of water from the water treatment plant.

  2. William "Bill" Hicks February 2, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    I did a little homework and the Santa Clara River is known to have steelhead trout. According to some experts, there are some man made obstacles on the river,but the first one is the sand bar. So it looks like El Nino may be of some benefit to the alleged endangered steelhead trout.

  3. William "Bill" Hicks February 2, 2016 at 7:31 am

    If this is an historic river for steelhead, there might be a healthy run this year if the sandbar stays breached.


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