Resolution in Support of Removal of Dams in Coastal Watersheds
by Surfrider Board of Directors
- Beach erosion has become a serious problem threatening public and private properties, recreational values and the economies of coastal communities.
- Beach sand supplies have been critically reduced by impediments to natural processes that transport sediment from coastal watersheds to the shoreline.
- Many dams have been rendered obsolete by heavy siltation, structural defects and development of alternative water supplies.
- Dams are directly responsible for endangering the ecosystems of coastal watersheds, drastically reducing salmonid populations and causing the near extinction of the southern California populations of steelhead trout, recently listed as federally endangered.
The National Board of Directors of the Surfrider Foundation Hereby Resolves that:
In order to renew the natural flow of sediments to beaches and provide for the restoration of coastal ecosystems, dams in coastal watersheds should be studied to consider the feasibility of their removal. These studies should be conducted within the context of watershed-wide recovery planning that recognizes the importance of other actions to the continued survival of coastal ecosystems, as well as the potential effects of dam removal upstream and downstream habitat.
Funding for these studies and for implementation of recommended actions to mitigate negative impacts of dams should be provided by the public and/or private entities that have received benefits from the dams. Actions considered in such studies should include (but not be limited to):
- Dam removal;
- Restoration of base stream flows to support historic natural resources;
- Release or transport of trapped sediment to restore downstream habitat, including sandy beaches.
Whereas, in accordance with this resolution and in recognition of the potential for achievement of significant long term benefits, including beach sand replenishment and restoration of coastal and riparian ecosystems and steelhead and salmon populations in the Ventura River watershed, we recognize and support the efforts of our Ventura County Chapter toward removal of the Matilija Dam.
Resolution Adopted 23 January 1999