The Ventura County Public Works Agency – Watershed Protection (VCPWA – WP) is soliciting input from interested persons and agencies as to the scope and content of the Matilija Dam Ecosystem Restoration Project (MDERP) Subsequent Environmental Impact Report (SEIR). In accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the VCPWA – WP requests that agencies review the project description provided in the Notice of Preparation (NOP) and provide comments on environmental issues related to the statutory responsibilities of the agency. The SEIR will be used by the VCPWA – WP when considering approval of the Matilija Dam Ecosystem Restoration Project (Project) and by other Responsible and Trustee Agencies to support their discretionary actions related to the Project.
In October 2000, the Ventura County Watershed Protection District (now the VCPWA – WP) initiated the Matilija Dam Ecosystem Restoration Study as a joint effort between VCPWA – WP and U.S. 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. 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 as well as details regarding proposed modifications to downstream infrastructure. The VCPWA – WP has determined that preparation of an SEIR is warranted to evaluate the revised Project. The SEIR will provide a complete and objective analysis of the revised scheme for dam removal.