The Ventura County Public Works Agency – Watershed Protection (VCPWA – WP) is soliciting input from reviewing agencies and the public regarding the scope and content of a Subsequent Environmental Impact Report (SEIR) for the proposed Modified Matilija Dam Ecosystem Restoration Project (the Project) which will focus on the dam removal component of the Project. In accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), VCPWA – WP requests that agencies review the Project Description provided in the Detailed Reissued Notice of Preparation (NOP – provided as a quick link) and provide comments on environmental issues related to the statutory responsibilities of the agency. The EIR will be used by VCPWA – WP when considering approval of the proposed Modified Project and by other Responsible and Trustee Agencies to support their discretionary actions related to the proposed Modified Project. VCPWA – WP is also seeking the views of residents, property owners, and the public regarding issues that should be addressed in the EIR. Dam removal has the potential to impact the Matilija Creek and Ventura River floodplain and adjacent properties.
In October 2000, the VCPWA – WP (then the Ventura County Flood Control District) initiated the Matilija Dam Ecosystem Restoration Study as a joint effort between VCPWA – WP and United States Army Corps of Engineers to develop a project resulting in the removal of Matilija Dam. The Project objectives included: aquatic and terrestrial habitat improvement along Matilija Creek and the Ventura River to restore a viable and abundant run of steelhead trout; restoration of natural sediment transport processes; and an increase in recreation opportunities. The joint National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)/CEQA EIR was certified in 2004. Also in 2004, the Board of Supervisors of the Ventura County Flood Control District approved Alternative 4b as the approved Project. In June 2017, the VCPWA – WP received funding to implement the Matilija Dam Removal 65% Design Planning Project. The updated plan to remove Matilija Dam incorporates new information garnered from recent dam removal projects, technical studies and stakeholder involvement. The VCPWA – WP has determined that preparation of an SEIR is warranted to evaluate the proposed revised Project. The SEIR will provide a complete and objective analysis of the revised methods for dam removal.