Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Hewlett Foundation support for Matilija Dam Removal

This week the Hewlett Foundation announced a $50 million fund for river restoration in the west.
Hewlett Foundation’s initial pledge of $175,000 for Matilija Dam will support local groups working toward the dam's removal. This includes grants to the Surfrider Foundation, California Trout, and other organizations to provide technical support and community outreach on the project.

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation marked the organization’s 50th anniversary by donating $50 million to establish the Open Rivers Fund, the largest fund dedicated to supporting local community efforts to remove obsolete dams and restore rivers across the western United States. Resources Legacy Fund, a nonprofit that has significant experience in developing and implementing complex conservation programs and projects, will identify potential dam removal projects -- based on the local need, widespread community support and collaboration, and opportunity for multiple community and environmental benefits – and, over the next ten years, support the work of local groups and agencies in removing the dams.  The Open Rivers Fund launches with three initial projects, including the largest dam removal project in California, the Matilija Dam.

According to the Ventura County Star:
As organizers continue to work on the plan, including defining recreational opportunities along the Ventura River Parkway, the recognition by Open Rivers will help convince government agencies and donors that the Matilija Dam demolition project is viable and important to the community, said Peter Sheydayi, interim direct of the Ventura County Watershed Protection District, which owns the dam.
“They (Open Rivers Fund) bring a lot of credibility to our efforts,” he said Monday. “There’s a general feeling of momentum moving now that we haven’t seen before.”

More info:

In the news:

A new $50 million fund will help communities remove “deadbeat dams,” starting in California, Oregon, and Washington.

Editorial: Matilija Dam removal dream is alive and well, VCStar

"It would be easy to play the pessimist on this never-ending project, especially considering its $80 million price tag and a president-elect who isn’t exactly putting environmental restoration at the top of his to-do list. But you’ve got to give some serious credit to the Matilija Coalition, founder Paul Jenkin and all the others involved for their persistence and fortitude. At this point, Ventura County is 20 years deep into this project, and we’re glad its champions are sticking with it."