Friday, May 23, 2008

MODA - It's back!

ISSUE: Slurry Disposal Site(s) for the Matilija Dam project

2 million cubic yards of fine sediments from Matilija reservoir are to be removed by slurry pipeline and deposited within the floodplain downstream. It was intended that these disposal sites would be temporary and would erode downstream into the ocean during future floods.

These sites were selected and presented to the public as the preferred alternative in the Feasibility Study and Environmental Impact Report. This was an alternative approach to the plan originally proposed by the Corps of Engineers to deposit the fines below the trailhead to the recently acquired Ventura River Preserve. After months of rumors, this 'Plan A' has been reborn as MODA - Meiners Oaks Disposal Area. Originally estimated to be 90 acres, 15 feet deep, this has been reduced to 70 acres, over 35 feet deep. The Corps of Engineers cites cost savings of $5M as the reason for reverting back to this alternative.

This is a fundamental change from the several smaller temporary disposal sites presented in the Feasibility Report, to a single more permanent site. This site would require careful design and restoration to ensure revegetation, prevent flooding from upland tributaries, and integrate with the Meiners Oaks levee design. This site also has significant impacts to recreation, since it is below the primary trailhead for the Ventura River/El Nido Preserve, one of the only highly utilized public access points within the entire watershed.