Shellfish quarantine in effect through October

If you’re planning on a weekend spent collecting mussels off the Ventura coast, you might want to think again, as a warning has been issued to steer clear of the bivalve due to toxicity.

The Ventura County Environmental Health Division, in coordination with the California Department of Public Health, issued the annual quarantine of mussels taken by recreational shellfish harvesters in early May due to a “red tide” event caused by an influx of algae. The algae, when consumed by shellfish, causes domoic acid to accumulate, which can lead to paralytic shellfish poisoning and domoic acid poisoning if consumed by humans.

The same algae event has been blamed for an increase in the number of birds and mammals found on the coast suffering from the poisoning effects. Signs and symptoms of domoic acid poisoning are easily identifiable in animals and can include lethargy, foaming at the mouth and seizures, and in humans, according to the CDPH, can produce a tingling around the mouth and fingertips within a few minutes to a few hours after consumption, typically followed by disturbed balance, lack of muscular coordination, slurred speech and difficulty swallowing.

In severe cases, the poisoning can lead to coma or death.

The California Department of Public Health has established a Shellfish Information Hotline for additional information, which can be reached at 800-553-4133.

Public DIY bike repair stops available across county

Sixteen new bicycle repair stations will be added to Ventura County fire stations over the next year, five of which are to be installed during May to coincide with National Bike Month.

Fire Station 42 in Moorpark, Station 25 in Rincon, Station 53 in Port Hueneme, Station 21 in Ojai and Station 56 in Malibu will receive the repair stations, created by Newbury Park-based Giant Bicycles Inc., this month.

Each station is equipped with an air pump and tools to fix a flat or make other minor repairs, and cost the Department about $1,300 each.

Three public bike repair stands have been outfitted in Ventura in conjunction with the Ventura Bike HUB, located at McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream in midtown Ventura, and at Sandbox Coffee House and Patagonia in downtown Ventura.

Diesel-replacement program open to businesses

The Ventura County Air Pollution Control District has relaunched its Carl Moyer Memorial Air Quality Standards Attainment Program to encourage county businesses to replace outdated diesel off-road equipment with low-emission equivalents.

The program pays up to 70 percent of the cost of the exchange and has $2.4 million available in funding as a result of grants from the California Air Resources Board and local fees.

“The Carl Moyer Program remains our most effective tool to reduce emissions from mobile diesel equipment, which is still a significant contributor to Ventura County’s ozone and toxic diesel particulate-matter air pollution,” said Michael Villegas, air pollution control officer.

Since 1999, the program, a joint effort between the California Air Resources Board and California’s local air districts, has awarded over $37 million to businesses. The program was named after the late Dr. Carl Moyer in recognition of his work in the air quality field.

For more information or to apply, call 645-1407.