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:


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."

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


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

Friday, October 20, 2023

Elwha, Dam Removal Success Story

A decade after the removal of two high dams on the Elwha River, scientists are documenting the recovery of an entire ecosystem.  The science bodes well for the recovery of the Ventura River ecosystem with the removal of Matilija Dam.

This PBS documentary tells the story: 

Undamming a river, rebuilding a forest | WILD HOPE

"Ten years after the largest dam removal in history—on the Elwha River, in Washington State—scientists are chronicling an inspiring story of ecological rebirth. Recovering salmon populations are transferring critical nutrients from the ocean into the forests along the Elwha’s banks, enriching the entire ecosystem. The Elwha’s revival is encouraging advocates to push for the removal of many larger dams in the region, and in the rest of the world."

More on this blog:  Elwha

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Surfers' Point Nature Based Solutions video

"Fighting Climate Change with Nature," a video produced by the Surfrider Foundation featuring the Surfers' Point Managed Shoreline Retreat project:


Thursday, June 1, 2023

Surfers' Point funding ok'd

 At the June 1st meeting of the California Coastal Conservancy the board approved $16,200,000 to the City of San Buenaventura (Ventura) to construct Phase 2 of the Surfers Point Managed Retreat Project, a sea level rise adaptation project that relocates existing infrastructure landward and restores beach dune habitat, in Ventura. 

Surfrider submitted a support letter saying:

Surfers’ Point has been the flagship campaign of the Ventura County Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation since its inception in 1991.  For more than 30 years our members have advocated for the community-based solution to coastal erosion offered by this project.  The construction of the first phase in 2011 has proven the efficacy of this approach and we look forward to completing the project.  In recent years the rapid loss of the remaining bike path and parking lot has increased the urgency to relocate this visitor serving infrastructure out of harms way.  Implementation of the proven buried cobble berm and sand dunes will restore nature-based resiliency to this extremely popular stretch of coast.

Construction will begin after Labor Day, 2024

On this blog: Surfers Point


COASTAL CONSERVANCY Project No. 08-057-02 Staff Recommendation June 1, 2023

 In the News:

Ventura gets $16M to move crumbling path, parking lot farther from crashing waves

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Klamath River dam removal begins

After nearly two decades of planning, construction recently began on the estimated $450 million Klamath River Renewal Project.  The project involves the simultaneous removal of four dams to restore the second largest river in California.  The project is overseen by the independent nonprofit Klamath River Renewal Corporation formed in 2016 to navigate the complex regulatory and legal issues associated with dam removal.

ASCE provides a good technical summary of the project here:  Construction begins on removal of 4 Klamath River dams.  In 2009 we noted that Klamath Dam removal study supports sediment releases, and each of the four dams will utilize natural transport for disposal of the majority of the fine sediment that has accumulated in the reservoirs.  Most of the concrete and other materials will be disposed at or near each of the dam sites.  

The Klamath River suffered a dramatic and notorious fish kill in 2002 when over 34,000 fish, mostly adult fall Chinook salmon, were found dead in the Lower Klamath River. This fish kill was unprecedented for returning adult salmon on the Klamath River, profoundly affecting the Yurok People and other local residents both economically and spiritually.  The river suffered another fish kill following the fires of 2022.  The major contributing factor to unhealthy fisheries in the Lower Klamath River has been the presence of the large reservoirs which accumulate agricultural runoff and fertilizers which heat up in the hot summer months and fuel toxic algae.  Removal of these dams will eliminate the release of this toxic hot water into critical salmon habitat.  Most importantly this project will restore one of the most productive salmon runs in California to benefit the Native American communities who have depended on fisheries for their livelihood, health, and cultural practices since time immemorial. 

Also of interest is the The Klamath Mitigation Fund which "is a voluntary claims-based compensation program in which impacted property owners can participate.  The Fund is designed to provide compensation for specified physical impacts to private properties caused by the Klamath dam removal project. The Fund will be administered by independent Fund Administrators based on criteria established from extensive technical analysis. The Fund Administrators will organize information sessions by potential claim (slope stability, flood risk, and groundwater well impacts) to explain the analysis and approach. They will ultimately make independent compensation decisions and manage settlements with individual property owners for physical damages demonstrated to be caused by dam removal. Such payments (which will settle claims) will avoid the need for litigation to resolve such damages.”

In the news:   

First Klamath River dam to be removed by end of summer  

The massive dam removal on the Klamath may save salmon but can’t solve the West’s water crisis

With one down, Klamath dam removal proceeds on schedule

An Important Milestone on the Klamath – Removal of the Copco 2 Dam Complete! American Whitewater11/09/2023

On this blog:

Klamath Dam removal study supports sediment releases


Klamath River Renewal Corporation

Klamath Mitigation Fund

Construction begins on removal of 4 Klamath River dams, ASCE 5/11/2023

The Klamath River Fish Kill of 2002 

Klamath River Fish Kill 2002 (Earthjustice) - YouTube video