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McGrath campsites waterlogged

Campers hoping to pitch their tents at McGrath State Beach in Oxnard have to make other plans–the campground is flooded by several feet of water.

The water is a mixture of run-off, high tides and purified wastewater that is allowed to be released by the Ventura wastewater treatment plant. The water would normally flow into the ocean, but a sand berm has piled up at the mouth of the Santa Clara River.

Winter storms usually break down the berm, but there has not been enough rain.

Ventura County Supervisor John Zaragoza said the county can’t hire crews to knock it down because McGrath is sensitive habitat.

Zaragoza and a large group of camping enthusiasts helped save the park from a state closure list in 2011. They even raised thousands of dollars to repair a leaking sewer line. The park opened last spring after California park officials found funding stashed away in an state account. There are about 170 campsites at McGrath. Some people have called for a study to look into moving the campsites to higher ground south of the Harbor Boulevard entrance. But moving the campsites would take millions of dollars. Zaragoza said the park is not likely to open by Memorial Day, but there is a chance it could dry out in time for the 4th of July.

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