Saticoy is an unincorporated community in Ventura County, United States. The name comes from the Chumash village named Sa'aqtik'oy; the settlement was laid out in 1887 along the railroad line, being built from Los Angeles through the Santa Clara River Valley to the town of San Buenaventura. Although the town was 10 miles distant at that time, the City of Ventura grew so the community is now just outside the city limits. For statistical purposes, the United States Census Bureau has defined Saticoy as a census-designated place; the census definition of the area does not correspond to the local understanding of the historical area of the community. The commercial district known as Old Town Saticoy is surrounded by a residential neighborhood with a population of just over one thousand. Two historic buildings attest to the important role Saticoy once held in the local agricultural economy: Walnut Growers Association Warehouse, Saticoy Bean Warehouse; the historic setting, stable residential population and access to major highways make this community unique in Ventura County.
South towards the Santa Clara River is a sizable industrial area located on both sides of Los Angeles Avenue. The historic building that housed the Farmers & Merchants Bank of Santa Paula, Saticoy Branch, stands at a quiet intersection that used to be at the center of a vibrant community; the earliest known human inhabitants of the vicinity were the Oak Grove People. Some ancient mealing stones of this prehistoric tribe were found near Saticoy in 1932 and traced back to about 3000 B. C. In about the early 15th century, the Chumash tribe inhabited the area, they milled the acorns. Sa'aqtik'oy was one of the largest settlements of the Chumash region, which extended from Point Conception to Santa Monica and back into the foothills as far as the Coast Range; the natural underground springs located in the area made Saticoy a prime location for the tribe to hold their yearly meetings. In 1769, the Spanish Portola expedition, first recorded European visitors to inland areas of California, came down the valley from the previous night's encampment near today's Santa Paula and camped in the vicinity of Saticoy on August 13.
Fray Juan Crespi, a Franciscan missionary traveling with the expedition, noted that the party traveled about 6–7 miles that day and camped near a native village "composed of twenty houses made of grass, in a spherical form, like a half orange, with a vent at the top by which the light enters and the smoke goes out.". Saticoy lies within the vast 17,773-acre Rancho Santa Paula y Saticoy granted to Manuel Jimeno Casarin on April 28, 1840 by the Mexican government. In November 1861, Jefferson L. Crane settled at the site of the Chumash village, other Americans followed soon after. Saticoy, 8 miles from Ventura, had a school as early as 1868. W. D. F. Richards, considered the founder of Saticoy, arrived in 1868, bought 650 acres of land, he followed many experiments in farming. The Saticoy Post Office was established in 1873 by the U. S. Post Office Department, one of seventeen post offices operating in the county in 1890. R. G. Surdam was listed on the 1880 census for Saticoy with the occupation of real estate agent.
He is known as the founder of the towns of Ojai and Bardsdale and for working with Thomas Bard to build the Hueneme wharf. The streets and lots in the unincorporated present day "Old Town" were laid out in September 1887 on both sides of the newly opened "Southern Pacific Branch Line: Saugus to Santa Barbara." An area west of Wells Road for which another map entitled "Town of Saticoy" was filed as a competing subdivision to benefit from the new railroad. Through the 1800s and early 1900s little development occurred in West Saticoy but the "Old Town" area flourished as a small center of the region’s citrus and other produce production. Rail passenger service stopped in 1934; the community of West Saticoy did develop a small community just west of the "School Lot" as shown on the map. Saticoy School was built on the lot in 1900; the school is now called ATLAS Elementary: Academy of Technology and Leadership at Saticoy and is part of the Ventura Unified School District. This alternative townsite, on the other side of the Brown Barranca from the railroad station, was located on the main road to San Buenaventura.
That distant town, incorporated in 1866, has grown so that all of Saticoy, except for "Old Town," has been annexed into the City of Ventura. There have been many bridges across the Santa Clara River at Saticoy, they were washed out due to abundant rainfall and flooding. The most notable washout, was due to the flood wave of water caused by the collapse of the St. Francis Dam, in northwest Los Angeles County, which occurred two and a half minutes before midnight on March 12, 1928; the bridge was washed out again in the flood of 1969, cars were rerouted through the riverbed east of the bridge while it was under repair. Cabrillo Village was a 32-acre farm laborer camp built in the 1930s. A lengthy confrontation in the 1970s ensued when the growers wanted to raze the cramped, rundown homes for development; the confrontation ended in 1976, when 82 farmworker families, advised by affordable housing advocate Rodney Fernandez, pitched in and bought their deteriorating cottages from the Saticoy Lemon Assn.
It was the first time that U. S. farmworkers had purchased the camp they lived in." The first cooperative housing association in Ventura County was formed and the 154 apartments and houses in the village are owned by the cooperative. In 1989 Cabrillo Village was selected as a finalist for the Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Exc
Piru Creek is a major stream, about 71 miles long, in northern Los Angeles County and eastern Ventura County, California. It is a tributary of the Santa Clara River, the largest stream system in Southern California, still natural; the creek drains an area of about 497 square miles, making it the Santa Clara River's biggest tributary in terms of watershed size. Most of the creek above Lake Piru is located in the Los Padres National Forest. There are two major reservoirs on Piru Creek, Lake Piru and Pyramid Lake, which store water for local irrigation and the California State Water Project. Piru Creek originates as several small springs on the north side of Pine Mountain Ridge in the Santa Ynez Mountains, in the Los Padres National Forest, it flows eastwards through a gentle valley. After the Cedar Creek confluence the stream turns northeast, receives Sheep Creek from the left, Mutau Creek from the right. Piru Creek receives Lockwood Creek from the left at Sunset campground on Lockwood Flat, flows east into a canyon where the valley walls pull in and rise steeper and higher above the river.
The Smith Fork of Piru Creek, with headwaters in the San Emigdio Mountains, comes in from the left about 5 miles south of Gorman. Piru Creek turns southeast and enters the Pyramid Lake reservoir impounded behind Pyramid Dam, which stores imported water from the West Branch of the California Aqueduct for Ventura County and Los Angeles County. Interstate 5 runs a 1,000 feet above the east side of the reservoir/former canyon. Below Pyramid Dam, Piru Creek maintains a constant flow due to releases of reservoir water, it turns south and flows through the Topatopa Mountains via the Piru Gorge and along old route of Hwy 99−Pyramid Dam Road, forming the boundary between Mount Pinos and Saugus Ranger Districts of the Los Padres National Forest and dropping over Piru Creek Falls. The creek flows south, still along the route of old Hwy 99−Pyramid Dam Road and through Cherry Canyon, to Frenchman's Flat and the confluence with Osito Creek; the creek turns to the west entering another gorge south through it where it receives from the right Fish Creek of the northeastern Cobblestone Mountain watershed, ephemeral Turtle Creek and Michael Creek, from the right Agua Blanca Creek of the western and southern Cobblestone Mountain watershed.
It crosses the boundary between Los Angeles County and Ventura County five times before leaving the Los Padres National Forest and being impounded behind Santa Felicia Dam in Lake Piru, the second reservoir on the creek. Below this point the canyon widens and the creek becomes a wide gravelly wash, it reaches the Santa Clara River Valley at the town of Piru, crosses under State Route 126 to join the Santa Clara River. Thousands of years ago, Native Americans of the Chumash group lived in the area, but by 500 CE, their former territory along Piru Creek had been occupied by the Tataviam, it is believed that there were once up to 25 Native American villages on the river, of which eight have been studied. Spanish explorer Don Gaspar first traveled up the creek in 1769. In 1839, the government of Mexico which held control over Alta California granted the 48,612-acre Rancho San Francisco to Antonio del Valle; the Rancho Camulos was created out of Rancho San Francisco land by Ygnacio del Valle in 1853, included much of the Santa Clara River and Piru Creek Valleys.
In 1842, traces of gold were found on a tributary of the Santa Clara River, Placerita Creek, which joins the main stem about 10 miles upstream of Piru. By the late 19th century, prospectors discovered traces of calcite on Piru Creek in Lockwood Valley near Frazier Mountain, north of present-day Pyramid Lake. A town called Lexington was platted near the site in 1887 but never materialized; the real mineral of value in the region turned out to be borax, mined in the 1880s by the Frazier Borate Company. The company town, was established on the Piru in the late 1890s, by 1905 had grown to such a size that a post office was set up in the town, abandoned in 1942 because of dwindling profits from borax mining; the Russell Borate Mining Company acquired land in the region in 1907 between a pair of earlier excavations. By 1912, the Russell mine was the only one left in operation. All the mines were abandoned because of competitions from borax operations in Death Valley. Hiking, off-roading and rock climbing are some of the recreational opportunities in the Los Padres National Forest that surrounds much of the Piru's course.
One well-known trail follows Piru Creek through the lower part of Piru Gorge from Frenchman's Flat to the confluence with Fish Creek, it is possible to continue all the way south from there to Lake Piru with much scrambling and wading. The entire hike can require more than two days to complete, flooding from Piru Creek is a potential danger. In the spring, the stretches of Piru Creek from Pyramid Lake to Lake Piru and from Santa Felicia Dam to the mouth are possible to raft and kayak; the 15-mile first stretch has rapids up to Class IV and includes the challenging section known as Falls Gorge, while the calmer 4-mile second reach has Class I-II rapids only. Controlled water releases from the two dams provide some regulation of the flow although an effort is made to simulate natural discharges; as a result, the section is only runnable after rainfall. From 0.5 miles downstream of Pyramid Dam to the Los Angeles-Ventura County line, Piru Creek in various sections is designated a National Wild and Scenic River.
At one time fishing along Piru Creek was
Sespe Creek is a stream, some 61 miles long, in Ventura County, southern California, in the Western United States. The creek starts at Potrero Seco in the eastern Sierra Madre Mountains, is formed by more than thirty tributary streams of the Sierra Madre and Topatopa Mountains, before it empties into the Santa Clara River in Fillmore. Thirty-one miles of Sespe Creek is designated as a National Wild and Scenic River and National Scenic Waterway, is untouched by dams or concrete channels, it is one of the last wild rivers in Southern California. It is within the southern Los Padres National Forest; the name Sespe can be traced to a Chumash Indian village, called Cepsey, Sek-pe or S'eqpe' in the Chumash language in 1791. The village appeared in a Mexican Alta California land grant called Rancho Sespe or Rancho San Cayetano in 1833; the creek remains free from major habitat modifications and is noteworty for its lack of dams, although one was proposed for a site named Topa Topa near Sespe Hot Springs in the Sespe Wilderness.
After originating above 5,000 feet in the Sierra Madre Mountains in the northwest corner of the Ojai Ranger District, about 75 percent of the Sespe Creek subwatershed is characterized by numerous rugged slopes and canyon walls of the southern Pine Mountains. It is characterized by a series of permanent deep pools. Major tributaries include the Lion Canyon, Hot Springs Canyon, West Fork Sespe and Little Sespe Creeks, although over 30 creeks and springs nourish it. Sespe Creek receives most of its rainfall between January and April, furnishes 40% of the water flowing in the Santa Clara River. Much of Sespe Creek is protected within the Los Padres National Forest; the 219,700-acre Sespe Wilderness Area encompasses 31.5 miles of Sespe Creek. Established in 1992, the Wilderness Area contains a 53,000-acre Sespe Condor Sanctuary. 10.5 miles of upper Sespe Creek have been designated as wild and scenic. Furthermore, the stream is designated as a wild trout stream from the Lion Camp area in the upper subwatershed downstream to the Los Padres National Forest boundary north of and near the City of Fillmore.
The Sespe Creek flows through habitas of the California montane chaparral and woodlands ecoregion, Riparian woodlands. The inaccessibility of the Sespe Creek backcountry, related to the Sespe gorge and flash floods which make roads through the gorge impossible to maintain, has made the area an apparent refuge for a number of species who were extirpated elsewhere in southern California, including the California condor, southern steelhead trout and the California golden beaver. In addition, the California grizzly bear held out in the Sespe area until at least 1905, when a forest ranger reported tracks and separately hunters claimed they saw a grizzly in the vicinity of the Sespe Hot Springs and Alder Creek; the Sespe is one of southern California's last free flowing. The confluence of Sespe Creek with the Santa Clara River provides an important connection to upland systems and potential migration corridor for four endangered species: southwestern willow flycatcher, least Bell's vireo, arroyo toad, California red-legged frog.
The Sespe Creek population is the largest known arroyo toad habitat within its current range. California condor The Sespe Creek watershed has the 53,000-acre Sespe Condor Sanctuary created in 1947, it protects wilderness habitat of the critically endangered species, the Gymnogyps californianus. California golden beaver The discovery of a male adult California golden beaver specimen collected as "wild caught" in May, 1906 "along the Sespe River in Ventura County" is physical evidence that golden beaver were extant in coastal streams in southern California; the skull of the Sespe Creek specimen is housed at the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology in Berkeley and was collected by Dr. John Hornung, of Ventura, who assembled a large private mammal collection of over 2,000 skulls and made major specimen donations to museums including the American Museum of Natural History. Although the California Department of Fish and Game re-introduced beaver throughout California the first documented restocking was 1923, well after the 1906 Sespe Creek specimen was collected.
The authenticity of the Sespe Creek specimen is supported by reports of beaver in the Santa Clara River until Europeans arrived, according to oral Ventureño Chumash history taken by ethnolinguist John Peabody Harrington in the early twentieth century. The beaver comes and gnaws the tree on the side towards which it leans, at last falls over; the tree is leaning towards our house. I am beginning to fear; the beaver builds its house in the cienegas in the time of our ancestors. There were beavers at Ventura and at Saticoy. There is a Chumash pictograph of a beaver at Painted Rock in the Cuyama River watershed due west of Mt. Pinos in the Sierra Madre mountains, about 35 miles from the Sespe Creek headwaters. Additionally, the Hearst Museum in Berkeley has a Ventureño Chumash shaman's rain making kit made from the skin of a beaver tail and a tobacco sack; the shaman, "Somik", produced the artifact in the resided at Fort Tejon. It "was not utilized by his descendants". In Janice Timbrook's "Chumash Ethnobotany" she states, based on linguist J. P. Harrington'
Angeles National Forest
The Angeles National Forest of the U. S. Forest Service is located in the San Gabriel Mountains and Sierra Pelona Mountains within Los Angeles County in southern California; the ANF manages a majority of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. The national forest was established in 1908, incorporating the first San Bernardino National Forest and parts of the former Santa Barbara and San Gabriel National Forests. Angeles National Forest headquarters are located in California; the Angeles National Forest covers a total of 700,176 acres, protecting large areas of the San Gabriel Mountains and Sierra Pelona Mountains. It is located just north of the densely inhabited metropolitan area of Greater Los Angeles. While within Los Angeles County, a small part extends eastward into southwestern San Bernardino County, in the Mount San Antonio area, a tiny section extends westward into northeastern Ventura County, in the Lake Piru area; the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, established in 2014 and managed by the U.
S. Forest Service, is within the Angeles National Forest; the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation and Recreation Act of 2019 established the Saint Francis Dam Disaster National Memorial and Saint Francis Dam Disaster National Monument at and around the ruins of the St. Francis Dam in the Forest's San Francisquito Canyon; the Angeles National Forest contains five nationally designated wilderness areas. Two of these extend into neighboring San Bernardino National Forest: Cucamonga Wilderness — in San Bernardino NF Magic Mountain Wilderness Pleasant View Ridge Wilderness San Gabriel Wilderness Sheep Mountain Wilderness — in San Bernardino NF The San Gabriel Forest Reserve was established on December 20, 1892, the San Bernardino Forest Reserve was established on February 25, 1893, the Santa Barbara Forest Reserve was established on December 22, 1903. Together, they became National Forests on March 4, 1907, they were combined on July 1, 1908, with all of the San Bernardino forest and portions of San Gabriel forest and Santa Barbara forest composing the new Angeles National Forest.
On September 30, 1925, portions of the Angeles National Forest and the Cleveland National Forest were detached to re-establish the San Bernardino National Forest. Angeles National Forest is registered as California Historical Landmark #717, for being the first National Forest in the state; the campgrounds at Broken Blade, Twisted Arrow and Pima Loops were closed on July 26, 2013 after squirrel infected with bubonic plague was discovered. Station FireIn the Station Fire, more than 161,000 acres of the forest were burned by an arson fire that began on August 26, 2009, near Angeles Crest Highway in La Cañada and spread, fueled by dry brush that had not burned for over 150 years; the fire burned for more than a month and was the worst in Los Angeles County history, charring one-fourth of the forest, displacing wildlife, destroying 91 homes and outbuildings and the family-owned Hidden Springs Cafe. During the fire, two firefighters died after driving off the Mt. Gleason County Road looking for an alternate route to get the inmates out at Camp 16.
The Station Fire threatened the Mount Wilson Observatory atop Mt. Wilson; the site includes two telescopes, two solar towers, transmitters for 22 television stations, several FM radio stations, police and fire department emergency channels. Although the fire scorched one side of the outhouse at amateur-owned Stony Ridge Observatory, six miles northeast of Mt. Wilson, aside from minor damage from smoke and ash infiltration, the remainder of the observatory and its historic 30-inch Carroll telescope survived. 2012 firesSeveral 2012 wildfires occurred, burning hundreds of acres across the forest-covered mountain range. The Angeles National Forest manages the habitats and fauna ecosystems, watersheds; some of the rivers with watersheds within its boundaries provide valuable non-groundwater recharge water for Southern California. The existing protected and restored native vegetation absorb and slow surface runoff of rainwater to minimize severe floods and landslides in adjacent communities; the land within the forest is diverse, both in terrain.
Elevations range from 1,200 to 10,064 ft. The Pacific Crest Trail crosses the forest. Much of this National Forest is covered with dense chaparral shrub forests with oak woodlands, which changes to pine and fir-covered slopes in the higher elevations. Subsequent to the fire there was a heavy growth of poodle-dog bush triggered by the fire's effect on dormant seeds, that lasted for several years; the plant produces prolific lavender flowers. As visitors to the Forest discovered, contact with it may cause a poison-oak-like rash. Tree species for which the forest is important include bigcone Douglas-fir, Coulter pine, California walnut; the National Forest contains some 29,000 acres of old growth, with: Jeffrey pine forests and mixed conifer forests, lodgepole pine the most abundant types. This forest is home to black bears, gray foxes, bobcats and coyotes. A National Forest Adventure Pass is required for parking at many locations in the Angeles National Forest and other National Forests in Southern California, this can be obtained online or from visitor centers and local merchants.
Los Angeles County has declared. There are many other areas that do not requi
Lake Hughes, California
Lake Hughes is an unincorporated community in the foothills of the Sierra Pelona Mountains, northwest of Palmdale and north of the Santa Clarita Valley, in the Angeles National Forest. It is on the sag pond waters of Elizabeth Lake; the community is rural in character, with a population of 649 in 2010, but has a strong recreational element centered on the three lakes in the vicinity. The community of Elizabeth Lake is located just east of Lake Hughes. Nearby Elizabeth Lake, known as La Laguna de Chico Lopez, was a watering locale on Spanish colonial and Mexican El Camino Viejo in Alta California and the Gold Rush era Stockton – Los Angeles Road. From 1858 to 1861, Lake Hughes was on the route of the Butterfield Overland Mail, between the Widow Smith's Station and Mud Spring stage stops; the lake area was to the west of Rancho La Liebre, an 1846 Mexican land grant now part of Tejon Ranch. Lake Hughes was named for Judge Griffith Hughes, who homesteaded the area around the turn of the 20th century.
Settlers were drawn to the area. In 1907 William Mulholland, superintendent of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, started work on the Elizabeth Lake Tunnel for transporting water in the Los Angeles Aqueduct from Owens Valley to Los Angeles. Less than a half a mile east of Lake Hughes, the five-mile-long tunnel is 285 feet under the valley floor; the tunnel was driven from both ends. The north portal is at the south in Bear Canyon just off of Green Valley; this 11-foot-wide tunnel was driven 27,000 ft through solid rock and met in the center within 1½ inches in line and ⅝ inches in depth. Work averaged about 11 feet per day; the Elizabeth Lake Tunnel was the largest single construction project on the Los Angeles Aqueduct and set speed records in its day. C. A. Austin promoted Lake Hughes as a summer resort in 1924, as a "fine mountain resort on the edge of Antelope Valley." Lake Hughes is centered on the intersection of Elizabeth Lake Road and Lake Hughes Road, both of which are county highways.
Hughes Lake and Munz Lakes are located within the community. In addition, a third lake, Lake Elizabeth is located just to the east within the community of Elizabeth Lake. Lakes Hughes and Lake Elizabeth are in the canyons along the San Andreas Fault. Both lakes periodically dry up depending on rainfall cycles. Lake Hughes was known as West Elizabeth Lake; the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department operates the Palmdale Station in Palmdale, serving Lake Hughes. Lake Hughes has its own community town council, The Lakes Town Council, which meets twice a month at the Lakes Community Center; the council helps plan community events, hosts socials and mixers, works with Los Angeles County officials on community planning and community standards. There are many associations within the Lake Hughes and Elizabeth Lake area; the most prominent is the town's country club and golf course. It has been open for over 60 years; the 8,400-square-foot clubhouse incorporates the historic Frakes homestead of Samuel H. T. Frakes and Almeda Mudgett Frakes, once a way station along the old stagecoach route.
Others include the Lakes Women's Club, The Go for Fun Club, Lakes And Valleys Conservancy Group, Lakes & Valleys Art Guild, Fire Safe Council and the Lakes Baseball & Softball Teams. The 2010 United States Census reported that Lake Hughes had a population of 649; the population density was 60.7 people per square mile. The racial makeup of Lake Hughes was 544 White, 19 African American, 7 Native American, 5 Asian, 1 Pacific Islander, 54 from other races, 19 from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 104 persons; the Census reported that 626 people lived in households, 23 lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, 0 were institutionalized. There were 300 households, out of which 55 had children under the age of 18 living in them, 114 were opposite-sex married couples living together, 26 had a female householder with no husband present, 16 had a male householder with no wife present. There were 23 unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, 4 same-sex married couples or partnerships.
111 households were made up of individuals and 26 had someone living alone, 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.09. There were 156 families; the population was spread out with 105 people under the age of 18, 53 people aged 18 to 24, 143 people aged 25 to 44, 273 people aged 45 to 64, 75 people who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 46.9 years. For every 100 females, there were 104.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 100.0 males. There were 400 housing units at an average density of 37.4 per square mile, of which 175 were owner-occupied, 125 were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 4.9%. 381 people lived in owner-occupied housing units and 245 people lived in rental housing units. According to the 2010 United States Census, Lake Hughes had a median household income of $53,281, with 29.0% of the population living below the federal poverty line. In 1869 the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors designated Elizabeth Lake School District to serve the area.
Dry Canyon Reservoir
Dry Canyon Reservoir is a small reservoir formed by an embankment dam on Dry Canyon Creek in the Sierra Pelona Mountains of northern Los Angeles County, just over 6 miles north the city of Santa Clarita. It was designed a part of the Los Angeles Aqueduct system. Constructed from 1910 to 1912, the 72,750 cu ft lake with a surface elevation of 1,514 feet above sea level regulated the flow of water from the irregular flow discharged from the power plants in San Francisquito Canyon; the incoming water from San Francisquito came from Tunnel 77 and the outgoing water went out Tunnel 78. Water from the lake was distributed via the Los Angeles Aqueduct to the northern portion of the Greater Los Angeles Area. Following damages incurred by the dam itself during the 1952 Kern County earthquake and growing concerns over its structural integrity, the reservoir was drained in 1966. Since the early 1970s, efforts had been made to refill the reservoir but these plans have since been abandoned due to high costs.
In the decades that followed, the suburban communities of Santa Clarita had grown northward to fill the narrow valley just downstream. The course of Dry Canyon Creek south of the reservoir was funneled down a concrete wash to prevent flooding of the surrounding communities. Today, the empty reservoir only provides flood control during storms; the lakebed itself has become home to other chaparral shrubs. List of dams and reservoirs in California List of lakes in California St. Francis Dam Bouquet Reservoir Dry Canyon Formation
Santa Clara River (California)
The Santa Clara River is 83 miles long, is one of the most dynamic river systems in Southern California. The river drains parts of four ranges in the Transverse Ranges System north and northwest of Los Angeles flows west onto the Oxnard Plain and into the Santa Barbara Channel of the Pacific Ocean; the watershed has provided habitat for a wide array of native plants and animals and has supplied humans with water and fertile farmland. The northern portion of the watershed was home to the Tataviam people while the southern portion was occupied by the Chumash people. Much of the Santa Clara River Valley is used for agriculture which has limited the use of structural levees to separate the natural floodplain from the river. Although it is one of the least altered rivers in Southern California, some levees exist where the river flows through areas of significant urban development; the Santa Clara River was named the Rio de Santa Clara on August 9, 1769 by the Portolá expedition on the march north from San Diego to found a mission at Monterey, to honor Saint Clare of Assisi who died on August 11, 1253.
The Santa Clara River Valley was known as the Cañada de Santa Clara. The Santa Clara-Mojave River Ranger District of the Angeles National Forest is named after the Santa Clara River; the failure and near complete collapse of the St. Francis Dam took place in the middle of the night on March 12, 1928; the dam was holding a full reservoir of 12.4 billion gallons of water that surged down San Francisquito Canyon and emptied into the river. The Santa Clara River's headwaters take drainage from the northern slopes of the San Gabriel Mountains near the Angeles Forest Highway, inside the western part of the Angeles National Forest, its largest fork, Aliso Canyon, forms the primary headstream. These branches combine into the broad wash of the main stem near the town of Acton which flows west through Soledad Canyon, crossing under California State Route 14 near the town of Canyon Country; the Sierra Pelona Mountains on the north provide additional seasonal tributaries. The river receives Bouquet Creek, Placerita Creek, San Francisquito Creek within the City of Santa Clarita.
The riverbed surface remains dry most of the year here, except on extreme occasions of heavier than average rainfall. The river crosses west under Interstate 5 and receives Castaic Creek from the right. After the Castaic Creek confluence, the river starts to flow southwest through the Santa Clarita Valley. Near the county line between Los Angeles County and Ventura County, the river enters the Santa Clara River Valley flowing past Buckhorn and Fillmore, incorporating additional flow from Piru Creek and Sespe Creek, both from the right, Santa Paula Creek at the town of Santa Paula, where it passes the large South Mountain Oil Field on the south bank; the Santa Clara River bends southwest, passing the Saticoy Oil Field on the north bank where South Mountain marks its entrance onto the broad Oxnard Plain. The river ends at the Pacific Ocean after flowing across the north side of this plain made fertile with the silt deposited by the river. A sand bar stands across the mouth at the Santa Clara Estuary Natural Preserve that lies within McGrath State Beach in Oxnard and bounded on the north by the city of Ventura.
Although located just north of the populated Los Angeles Basin, the 1,600-square-mile Santa Clara River watershed remains one of the most natural on the South Coast. It is separated from the Los Angeles Basin by the low Santa Susana Mountains, along the north side of which the Santa Clara River runs. On the east are the San Gabriel Mountains, on the north are the Santa Ynez Mountains, Sespe Mountains, San Cayetano Mountains, Tehachapi Mountains. Piru and Sespe Creeks, each over 50 miles long, are the primary tributaries of the Santa Clara River. While Piru and Castaic Creeks form reservoirs for the California State Water Project, Sespe Creek is designated a National Wild and Scenic River, unique among Southern California streams. There are 12 historical landmarks in the watershed; the Santa Clara River watershed borders on the Ventura River/Matilija Creek watershed on the west. On the northwest, lies the Santa Ynez River watershed. On the north is the interior drainage basin of Tulare Lake in the Central Valley.
To the east is the Mojave River and to the south is the Los Angeles River. The Santa Clara River is the second largest river in Southern California; the estuary has been modified by human activities at least since 1855. By the late 1920s roads and agricultural fields had become established. In the late 1950s the former delta area was occupied by the Ventura Water Reclamation Facility and agricultural fields with levees constraining the river from these areas and directing the flow to the Harbor Boulevard bridge. McGrath State Beach was established in 1948; the estuary has been designated a Natural Preserve within McGrath State Beach on the south bank of the river mouth. From the north bank of the river, the city of Ventura releases some 9,000,000 US gallons of treated effluent daily that flows into the Santa Clara Estuary Natural Preserve from their water reclamation facility. A sand berm separates the river from the ocean most of the year. In years with adequate rainfall, the river breaks the berm, slowly rebuilt by ocean action through the rest of the year.
When the river watershed has an exceptionally dry year, the berm acts as a dam, allowing the water level to rise with the