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Matilija: The largest dam removal project in the US

March 08 2008 | Jim's Blog,
by Jim


Above.
Matilija Dam. 200 feet high and, after being filled with river silt and cobble for over 60 years, a non-functioning dam

Below.
After a large rain the dam "fills". Truth is that at the deepest point this water is 15 - 20 feet deep.




I was up in Ventura the end of last week with more than 40 others. All parties were touring the Ventura River watershed and looking at plans to take down this dam and restore the ecosystem.

The Ventura chapter was in full force and did a stellar job of hosting a reception for the California Ocean Protection Council. Also present was
California Coastal Conservancy, California Ocean Science Trust, Ocean Conservancy, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Santa Barbara Channel Keeper, Matilija Coalition, CalTrout and the Wetlands Recovery Project .

For as long as I've known about this project I've been impressed. Actually, to say I've been impressed is a radically gross understatement. What feeling describes a project that has the massive goal of restoring an entire ecosystem? How does one describe the largest dam removal project in the United States?

Awe.

I take my hat off to the Ventura crew.
Chair John Wingate, Larry Manson and the inimitable Paul Jenkin (check out the podcast with Paul here).

Another ambitious... quintessentially Surfrider project. Thanks to all coalition partner and the California Ocean Protection Council for making this a great event.

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