The benefits of the Matilija Dam Ecosystem Restoration Project (MDERP) include:

Modernize downstream infrastructure for long-term resilience

MDERP’s downstream infrastructure projects (bridges, levees, etc.) enhance flood protection for neighboring communities, improve passage for endangered fish, and protect vital water infrastructure.

Improve watershed habitat through removal of invasive species

Since 2007, over 270 acres of habitat have been restored along the Ventura River through the removal giant reed (Arundo donax) and other invasive species.

Restore natural processes to support beach replenishment through transport of sediments and cobble downstream

Currently, the dam restricts nearly 9 million cubic yards of silt, sand, gravel, and cobble from reaching the Ventura River estuary. Dam removal will restore natural sediment transport in the Ventura River watershed and support beach replenishment.

Enhance recreational opportunities

Through actions such as the acquisition of the Matilija Hot Springs Property in 2008 and the construction of the Old Baldwin Road Trailhead in 2011, MDERP supports recreational experiences in the Ventura River watershed.

Restore endangered steelhead access to Matilija Creek headwaters

The removal of Matilija Dam will restore endangered steelhead access to over 17 miles of critical habitat in the Matilija Creek headwaters and reconnect the creek wildlife corridor for many other species.

Support economic growth and job creation

A 2020 study found that over the next 10-20 years, MDERP will support nearly 2,000 full-time jobs in Ventura County and more than 2,300 statewide. For additional information see Job and Stimulus Benefits of Matilija Dam Removal in Reports.