Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Matilija Reservoir March 2020

Matilija Reservoir March 17, 2020
It appears that our March rainfall event moved more sediment into Matilija reservoir.   Flows in the upstream delta are currently split so that the remnant reservoir has two inlets, one on each bank.  Last year saw significant deposits at the right bank (background of this photo.)  Here, new deposits are visible on the left bank (in the foreground of the photo).

Matilija Reservoir March 21, 2020
By March 21, the reservoir elevation had been lowered due to Casitas Municipal Water District's operations to release water from Matilija reservoir for downstream diversion at Robles.  This revealed the extent of the sedimentation, and allowed the inlet flows to erode a channel.  Note that although the creek was flowing clear, the reservoir still had suspended sediment lingering from earlier in the week.

The hydrograph below shows the flows recorded at USGS gages just below Matilija Dam (red line 11114495) and downstream at Foster Park (green line 11118500).  The difference between these lines is approximately what is diverted into Lake Casitas (excepting other inflow from North Fork Matilija Creek.)

Note the small peak at Foster Park on March 19 when the operation of Robles diversion was temporarily interrupted for maintenance, perhaps due to the influx of sand and gravel moving downstream.
Robles Diversion dam, 6pm March 19, 2020

Robles Diversion, daily and year to date Acre-feet, March 2020

On this blog: Ventura River post-fire sedimentation 2019

USGS Flow gages:
Foster Park:
Matilija Creek:

Casitas Municipal Water District diversions:

Friday, March 13, 2020

Lower Ventura River - a decade of cleanup

Almost a decade after the initial cleanup in the lower Ventura River, nonprofits and volunteers continue to take on the endless role as "Trash man" to those who leave their waste in the river bottom.

This video illustrates the dirty job undertaken by Dan Hulst, Preserve Director with the Ventura Land Trust.  It is still a full time job...

The Lower Ventura River from Jason Hernandez on Vimeo.

Looking back to 2011, Santa Barbara Channelkeeper, seeking to bring attention to a growing problem,  performed surveys of the area and estimated over 200 people living in the river bottom with no trash or sanitary facilities.  The sheer volume of toxic and human waste poised to flush into the ocean was overwhelming.

In 2012, the Ventura Hillsides Conservancy, now Ventura Land Trust, acquired the property downstream of the Main Street bridge.  Working through a process set up through a Trash TMDL, local authorities served eviction notices to the camps, and the Conservancy was able to come in and clean up the mess.

Eviction Day (2012) from Matt Linkin on Vimeo.

Ventura Land Trust continues to monitor and maintain the area, working with law enforcement and organizing volunteer workdays to clean up the never-ending mess.  A long term solution has yet to be developed, but social service agencies and nonprofits continue to make progress on improving access to shelters and transitional housing for those who desire.

For more information and to volunteer, contact:

Dan Hulst, Preserve Director, Ventura Land Trust:

Ben Pitterle, Santa Barbara Channelkeeper:

On this blog:

Stream Team Trash Survey
Salmon Run focuses on trash issue

VHC River Cleanup
More River Cleanups

Ventura River Cleanup short film