Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Ventura County accepts $3.3M grant

Tuesday May 23, 2017: The Ventura County Board of Supervisors adopted a Resolution Approving and Authorizing the Acceptance of $3,300,504 in California Department of Fish and Wildlife Restoration Grant Funding for the Matilija Dam Removal 65% Design Planning Project; and Authorization for the Ventura County Watershed Protection District (District) Director to Execute the Grant Agreement; Watershed Protection District Zone 1; Supervisorial District No.1.

Since 1999, the Ventura County Watershed Protection District (VCWPD) has engaged in a multi-stakeholder effort to remove the obsolete Matilija Dam from the Ventura River watershed. The (Project) is a watershed-scale project with multiple components that will enhance the Ventura River and its tributaries to benefit native wildlife and restore ecosystem function.

Importantly, the project will also address the liabilities posed by the obsolete dam and associated downstream infrastructure. While the aging dam is itself an ongoing liability to the County of Ventura, this project also provides the means to upgrade the downstream bridges, levees, and the Robles diversion to accommodate changes in sediment transport and flow elevations in the Ventura River. Each of these downstream projects will address current infrastructure deficiencies that will only worsen if Matilija reservoir is allowed to completely fill with sediment.

In March 2016, the Matilija Dam Design Oversight Group (DOG) reached consensus on an approach to dam removal that provides a cost-effective solution to sediment management. This plan was developed with new information based on the lessons learned from other recently implemented large dam removal projects, which provides an opportunity to greatly reduce the cost of removing Matilija Dam.

The Project has demonstrated strong support from public funding sources, as evidenced by the $3.3 million California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Grant. There is also significant philanthropic support through the recently- launched “Open Rivers Fund,” a ten-year program of Resources Legacy Fund (RLF).

The work plan funded through this California Department of Fish and Wildlife grant will help advance this project to “shovel ready” for future implementation funding opportunities. We are optimistic that, with such broad support, Matilija Dam can be removed in the coming decade.

More information:

Supporting documents: Ventura County Board of Supervisors 

On this blog:

Matilija Dam