The Port is proud to be a part of the unique ecosystem thriving in our local community. As a leader in environmental sustainable business practices for the region, the Port takes pride in being a good neighbor to all species who call Port Hueneme home. On any given day, onlookers can spot harbor seals sunbathing on buoys and lounging on the bow of ships as cargo is being unloaded, bright red starfish and lobsters at the water’s edge, seagulls perched on light poles, and even a few dolphins playing in the clear aqua waters of the harbor. Welcome to Earth Day at the Port!
Milkweed thrives in a garden just outside the Port of Hueneme.
The leadership of the Oxnard Harbor District views Earth Day as not just a day to celebrate the beauty and bounty the earth provides, but a day to reaffirm their commitment to environmental sustainability and being good stewards of the natural resources surrounding the Port. This commitment is woven through every aspect of the Port’s day-to-day operations and at the forefront of the Port’s strategic planning. Board of Harbor Commissioners President Mary Anne Rooney elaborated, “Our goal is to provide a gateway for the businesses and residents of our region to trade their goods and services with the world. That being said, we aim to provide these opportunities while at the same time ensuring we protect our environment, as evidenced in our environmental initiatives and strategic planning.” In 2015, the Port’s leadership adopted an Environmental Management Framework, aimed to guide the Port through growing opportunity for trade in an environmentally sustainable way.
The monarch waystation in front of the Port Hueneme Historical Society Museum.
Over the past 18 months, the Port has gained a new neighbor – the monarch butterfly. In 2017, a monarch butterfly waystation was established at the Port Hueneme Historical Museum, just steps away from the entrance to the Port. This black and orange species can be seen fluttering around the main gate of the Port of Hueneme specifically during the winter months. The waystation habitat features plants conducive to the butterfly including milkweed, where they lay their eggs. Once hatched, the monarch caterpillars feed on the milkweed. Hundreds of thousands of western monarch butterflies migrate to Ventura County every year before heading back north for the summer and fall. The monarchs play an essential role as pollinators of crops throughout Ventura County—a role important to many of the farmers who export produce through the Port of Hueneme.
A monarch caterpillar feeds on the milkweed planted at the Museum.
Oxnard Harbor Board of Commissioners President Mary Anne Rooney stated, “We are glad to see the Monarch has found a home at the Port of Hueneme, and we are committed to continuing to protect our natural ecosystem and the supporting role they play in our region and the local agricultural supply chain.”
A feline visitor to the monarch waystation watches new autos being driven through the front gates of the Port.
At the Oxnard Harbor District’s public board meeting on March 12th, the Board updated the District’s procurement policy to encourage consideration of product sustainability in all purchasing decisions. The Port also re-certified its Green Marine Certification for their 2018 sustainability practices. The Port remains the first and only Port in the State of California to be Green Marine Certified. “We not only want our customers to thrive, but we want our natural environment to as well.” Kristin Decas, CEO & Port Director said, “by accomplishing both priorities, the Port is showing industry that these are not mutually exclusive outcomes.” To help achieve this objective, the Port hired their first formal Environmental Manager last fall whose role is to ensure the Port is on the leading edge of environmental sustainability.
Interested in creating a monarch butterfly waystation of your own? Visit www.monarchwatch.org for more information.