Thursday, January 25, 2024

Watching the dams come out: Klamath River

Last year the removal of four dams on the Klamath River began.  This week the fourth dam, Copco No. 1, was breached setting the stage for the physical removal of all four dams this spring and summer.

Video of the drawdown demonstrates what is becoming one of the the standard dam removal methods, blasting a hole in the lower part of the dam to drain the reservoir and release the sediments trapped upstream.




In the news:



Monday, January 22, 2024

More Watershed Education

 Since 2021 the Merito Foundation has organized the Ventura River Action Network for 6th through 12th graders.  

https://www.meritofoundation.org/venturariveractionnetwork

 

The V-RAN program includes Professional Development (PD) outdoors in the field, PD webinars, Science Curricula, and stipends to science teachers of VUSD enrolled in the program. The teachers' students (~600-700 per school year) are participating in in-class science activities, virtual and in the field youth community science experiences at Ventura River Watershed, and project-based learning through the EECCOA Challenge (a green STEM competition) with cash and in-kind prizes for students, and funds to implement the most cost-effective proposal to reduce the carbon footprint of the school campus authored by the students. 

The program includes field trips to monitor the river and visit Matilija Dam.  Visit the Story Map to learn more:



https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/4d93e82e5977448996aa64ba1e3d18a2

 

Monday, December 18, 2023

Watershed Council Visits Dam

On December 14, 2023, the Ventura River Watershed Council featured the Matilija Dam Ecosystem Restoration Project (MDERP).  This is the biggest project currently underway in the watershed and regular updates have been provided in this public forum over the years.  The meeting included a short presentation and discussion in the Oak View Community Center followed by a guided tour of the dam and surrounds.  The presentation and past meetings can be found here: https://venturawatershed.org/past-meetings

Ventura County has initiated the CEQA environmental review process for the updated plan for dam removal.  Scoping comments are accepted until December 20 at the link above. This meeting gave people an opportunity to see the dam up close and ask questions about planning for the removal of this obsolete structure on the Ventura River.  


Project engineer Kirk Norman presents an overview of the project 

Ventura County biologist and CEQA lead Pam Lindsey discusses Matilija Dam

Ventura County biologist and CEQA lead Pam Lindsey discusses Matilija Dam

Matilija Coalition coordinator Paul Jenkin at Matilija Dam
















Friday, December 8, 2023

Watershed Education

 

OjaiValleyNews.com

For more than a decade, Once Upon a Watershed has provided environmental education to local schools.  The program introduces our watershed to hundreds of students every year both in the classroom and field trips along the river.  This originated from "Once upon a Wetland"  engaging students in hands-on restoration at the Ojai Meadows Preserve and featured in Watershed Revolution.  This locally produced film was aired nationwide on PBS. 

The current program is housed under The CREW, which has secured a permit from County government to take groups of students and others up to the obsolete Matilija Dam.

The tours also help demonstrate why the dam, located on 400 acres owned by the County of Ventura, needs to come down. “The single most important thing for the health of the Ventura River watershed is to remove Matilija Dam,” White said.

Despite the Ventura County Board of Supervisors approving the removal of the dam in 1998, said White, “the fact that we’re still here 25 years later looking at this big slab of concrete is somewhat frustrating.”

Not only does the dam block sediment from moving downstream and replenishing the beaches, it blocks passage of endangered southern steelhead, White told students.

What’s more, sediment backfilling the dam has tailed back so far that, in places, it’s actually made the creek higher than the access road into the canyon. “So whenever there is a flood the road gets taken out,” White said, “and that’s problematic for the people who are living in Matilija Canyon, because it’s one road in and out.” During January’s heavy downpours, residents had to be flown in and out of the canyon by helicopter.

Nearly all the public schools Once Upon a Watershed works with are Title 1 schools, “which indicates they’re in a disadvantaged or low income community,” said White, who takes fourth-, fifth- and six-graders to different places in the watershed. “We’re based in Ojai and so we run programs primarily in the Ventura River watershed.”

Once Upon a Watershed is funded by grants and operates on an annual budget of approximately $100,000, White said. OVS has been highly supportive of the program, he added.

“It’s such an important thing for young people to understand where our water comes from,” said sixth-grade teacher Ryan Lang, who grew up in Matilija Canyon and still resides there.


Once Upon a Watershed website features an interactive image map


Link to: 

Once Upon a Watershed mural

Watershed Revolution film 

Oak Grove School - Sixth Grade Trip to the Dam


On this Blog:

Watershed Revolution

Once Upon a Watershed

The Story of Our River

Salmon Run 2016

Ojai Meadows Preserve

Matilija Dam Student video - Merito Foundation program




In the News:

Lessons at the Dam, by Perry Van Houten, Ojai Valley News,  Nov 9, 2023 Updated Nov 13, 2023   

Friday, December 1, 2023

Headwaters to Ocean (H2O) Conference

The California Shore and Beach Preservation Association (CSBPA) and Beach Erosion Authority for Clean Oceans and Nourishment (BEACON) organized the 2023 Headwaters to Ocean (H2O) Conference.  This was the first big in-person gathering of professionals involved in watershed and coastal  health, restoration, and management since the COVID pandemic.

On Tuesday November 28, BEACON convened their science advisory panel and stakeholders for a morning meeting followed by lunch and guided tour of the Surfers' Point Managed Shoreline Retreat Project.  

H2O was a two day conference held in the Crowne Plaza Hotel on Ventura Beach on November 29-30. 

The H2O conference serves as a catalyst for collaboration across various fields, industries, institutions, and organizations united by their shared interests in topics related to water, oceans, coastal environments, sediment management, resilience, and the intersections between terrestrial and marine systems.  

A session on Surfers' Point included presentations from Paul Jenkin, Surfrider Foundation, Bob Battalio, ESA, Dave Hubbard, CRC, and Kiki Patsch, CSUCI.  The talks covered the history, engineering, dunes, and monitoring.



Paul Jenkin presented the lunchtime plenary talk, "A Lifetime of Coastal Activism; A Retrospective" or "Headwaters 2 Ocean; Ventura River, a Case Study"






H2O Conference Website: https://asbpa.org/2023/08/15/h2o-2023-conference/

 

Monday, October 30, 2023

Matilija Dam Geology

A 2007 presentation for the annual meeting of the Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists provides an overview of the geologic setting of Matilija Dam.  The presentation illustrates the presence of geologic faults and foundation problems with the dam.





The presentation also includes a description of the alkali aggregate reaction that compromised the strength of the concrete and led to the 1965 "notching" to lower the dam crest.


The complete talk may be downloaded here:

THE CASE FOR REMOVING MATILIJA DAM, J. David Rogers, Ph.D., P.E., P.G. University of Missouri-Rolla and G. Mattias Kondolf, Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley, Annual Meeting Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists, Los Angeles, California September 28, 2007 


On this blog:

Grand Jury on Dam Safety

Matilija Reservoir Drained

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Earthquakes in the Ojai Valley

 



according to the Ojai Valley News;

A 5.1-magnitude earthquake struck 7 kilometers southeast of Ojai  in the Upper Ojai area near Sulphur Mountain Road at 2:41 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 20, in a huge jolt that shook houses, knocked pictures off walls and sent unsecured household items flying in the Upper Ojai area.

The largest 5.1-magnitude jolt was followed by multiple aftershocks, ranging from 3.7-magnitude to 2.5-magnitude.

At 4:52 p.m. Aug. 20, the Ventura County Sheriff's Office of Emergency Services reported online that the 5.1-magnitude quake occurred on the Sisar fault line southeast of Ojai.

Westridge Market Midtown was closed for about two hours as workers mopped up after bottles broke and spilled all over the floor.

The Sheriff's Office also reported:

— "Casitas and Matilija Dam have been visually inspected by the VC Aviation Unit, with no issues to report. Ongoing inspections by the respective dam operators are underway and will take some time to complete."


earthquake.usgs.gov

Aftershocks from the August 20 quake continued through August 24.  Another cluster occurred north of Ojai along Sespe Creek on October 15 with the initial shock measured at magnitude 3.7.

Another article published on March 4, 2022 provides more information:

The Feb. 28 and March 1 quakes followed a series of temblors that shook the Upper Ojai area Feb. 26, including a 4.0-magnitude jolt and 21 other small quakes that occurred in the same area Feb. 10 to 16. “Part of the reason that we see so many events now is we have a much better network of sensors out there,”

According to Cochran, there’s nothing to suggest the quakes are related to oil and gas activity in the area. “We would tend to see those be a lot shallower,” she said. USGS recorded the depths of the larger quakes at approximately 15 kilometers, or just over 9 miles. “Those are actually quite deep. They’re the deepest events we typically see in Southern California, in this region,”

The quakes are occurring along the Arroyo Parida Fault, an extension of the Mission Ridge Fault system, said Ed Keller, professor of geology at UC Santa Barbara. It’s uplift along this fault that divided the Ojai Valley into two sections. “The upper and lower Ojai valleys, probably 40,000 years ago, were one valley, and they’ve been separated by the Arroyo Parida Fault, which runs all the way to Santa Barbara,” he said. In the 1980s, Keller did extensive research on the geologic structure of the Ojai Valley. “The Ojai Valley is one of the most seismically active places in California,” he said, due to a high rate of uplift. “The rate of uplift in the mountains is greater here than almost anyplace else I know.” Keller said quakes in the 1.0 to 2.0 range happen fairly frequently, but when they occur in swarms it’s time to be wary. 

Edward Keller Ojai Valley faults map


References:

5.1-magnitude earthquake, followed by more, hit Ojai area at 2:41 p.m. Ojai Valley News, Aug 20, 2023 Updated Aug 22, 2023  

Quakes rattle Ojai Valley, Ojai Valley News  Mar 4, 2022