Friday, March 18, 2022

Dams Out 2022

Our friends at CalTrout have released a campaign to highlight the Top 5 California Dams to be taken out, including Matilija Dam "Infamous for the scissors  painted  on the dam  by graffiti artists  in 2011 that have become an iconic symbol for dam removal"

"In the 2022 Top 5 Dams Out report, CalTrout has identified 5 dams that are ripe for removal. The selection of these dams was informed by the review of past scientific studies, understanding of their impact on salmon and steelhead, awareness of their regulatory context, and sustained engagement with the communities in which of the dams are located. By strategically pursuing opportunities for dam removal where economic, social, and environmental interests strongly align, CalTrout offers a model for restoring the health of the state’s rivers for the benefit of fish and people."

Visit the Dams Out StoryMap for more information. 

American Rivers is also rooting for dam removal nationwide, and includes Matilija Dam in their list of 25 Dams to Watch in 2022:

Both of these organizations are partners in the Matilija Coalitionan alliance of community groups, businesses, and individuals committed to the environmental restoration of the Ventura River watershed. Starting with the removal of Matilija Dam, we are working for the recovery of the bioregion to benefit the recovery of the Southern Steelhead trout and to restore the natural sediment supply to the beaches of Ventura.

Surfers' Point Phase II Update

The Surfer’s Point Working Group met on January 6, 2022 to discuss the final plans for Phase II of the Managed Retreat project.  The Final Design is expected to be completed in March of 2022.  

At their April, 2021 meeting, the California Coastal Commission approved (with conditions) modifications to the Surfers Point Managed Shoreline Retreat project in Ventura, CA.  Phase 2 will relocate the damaged oceanfront bike path and remaining parking lot back to Shoreline Drive and reconfigure day use parking to maintain beach access at the popular Surfers' Point in Ventura.  As part of the permitting conditions for the project, the California Coastal Commission added a requirement for EV charging stations to be installed, as well as a water quality monitoring plan to be developed prior to issuance of a construction permit.  Additional permit applications are pending with the USACE (Corps of Engineers) and RWQCB (Regional Water Quality Control Board)

On January 25th, 2022, the Ventura County Fairgrounds voted unanimously in support of the project after receiving a presentation from the City and its consultants.  Meeting minutes here.

The City currently anticipates a budget of $12,475,000 and is seeking grant funding to complete construction for Surfer’s Point Phase II. City staff are planning to hire a consulting team to pursue these grants and help identify additional opportunities for funding.  The California Coastal Conservancy is expected to open their Grant Application Period in summer of 2022 with $500 million for coastal resilience to be appropriated statewide.

The image below gives an overview of what to expect with the new parking arrangement:

Just as with Phase I, coastal restoration will include importing cobble and sand to construct dunes over a buried cobble berm as shown below.  This will restore a more natural beach and provide coastal protection for the new infrastructure.