Since completion of the 2017 Funding Plan a number of Project-related grants have either been secured by Watershed Protection or are currently under development. These are organized into four groups below: Completed Grants, Active Grants, Philanthropic Support, and Pending Requests. A separate summary of grants awarded during the 2007-2016 transition from the original “federal” project to the current project will be included in a future update.
Estuarine and Coastal Sediment Transport Modeling. A 2017 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation provided almost $300,000 for development of a nearshore sediment transport model to analyze potential changes from dam removal to the Ventura River estuary, and along the coast from Emma Wood State Beach to the Ventura Harbor. The two-year grant was completed towards the end of 2019, culminating in a final report by Integral Consulting, Inc. entitled Matilija Dam Removal Ecosystem Restoration Project: Estuarine and Coastal Modeling (November 2019).
Real Property Acquisitions and Appraisal. A 2018 grant from the Resources Legacy Fund (RLF) provided $100,000 for (1) appraisal and acquisition of three permanent and two temporary easements required for construction of the new Santa Ana Boulevard Bridge, and (2) appraisal of a property upstream of the Camino Cielo crossing that has been identified as a Project acquisition priority to address increased flood risks following dam removal, and to support construction of a new bridge near the current river crossing if a voluntary agreement can be reached over the purchase and sale of fee or easement interests.
65% Design Planning Studies. A 2017 grant from CDFW provides more than $3.3 million to Watershed Protection to complete 65% design plans for Matilija Dam removal – the minimum required by CDFW to support applications for implementation grants – and preliminary to intermediate design plans for other Project components. The grant also supports field investigations, feasibility studies, design plan development and oversight, independent technical reviews, an updated Real Estate Plan, updated CEQA compliance, a project permitting plan, and stakeholder engagement. The grant runs from June 1, 2017 through September 29, 2021.
Santa Ana Boulevard Bridge Replacement. A 2019 grant from CDFW provides $13.427 million to implement the Santa Ana Boulevard bridge replacement project. All necessary easements and rights of way were acquired by mid-2020, and a primary construction contractor was selected and approved by early 2021. Construction of the new bridge will commence in April 2021, and all grant-funded work (including completion of the new bridge and removal of the old bridge) will conclude by the end of March 2023.
Matilija Dam Ecosystem Restoration Planning. A 2020 grant from the State Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) provides $5.025 million for final design plans for Matilija Dam removal and construction or rehabilitation of the Meiners Oaks, Live Oak Acres and Casitas Springs levees. Work under this grant will commence in late 2020 or early 2021, and all grant-funded work must be completed by mid-2025.
Since 2017 more than $1.3 million has been awarded by Resources Legacy Fund, Patagonia Inc., and other non-governmental organizations to leverage the grants outlined above.
PENDING GRANTS AND REQUESTS
Camino Cielo Design Plans. In 2017 the State Coastal Conservancy (SCC) allocated nearly $500,000 to support the development of final design plans for a new Camino Cielo bridge. A formal award and grant agreement were subsequently deferred to a future budget year due to more immediate SCC funding priorities. In 2019 Watershed Protection updated its cost projections for final design plans, and initiated work to update the 2017 proposal. A $734,730 request for up to 70% design plans and updated CEQA documentation was re-submitted to SCC in November 2020, and unanimously approved by the SCC Board on March 25, 2021. (The award will be finalized under a pending grant agreement.)
Matilija Dam Removal Orifice Design Planning. A June 2020 proposal to FEMA’s High Hazard Potential Dam (HHPD) grants program through the California Division of Dam Safety and CalOES received a provisional award notification for $61,770 in October 2020 to advance design planning work focused on orifice construction at the base of Matilija Dam.
Regional Conservation Partnership Program Planning, Design and Implementation. In November 2020 Watershed Protection submitted a Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) proposal seeking $6.2 million in assistance from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to support additional alternatives development and reformulation at Robles Diversion and Meiners Oaks Levee, and completion of a NRCS-approved Watershed Plan and associated NEPA updates to pave the way for future NRCS implementation funding requests for Robles, Meiners Oaks, and two downstream levees (Live Oak Acres and Casitas Springs, both originally constructed with NRCS assistance). The proposed $18 million partnership between VCPWA-WP, NRCS and contributing partners Casitas Municipal Water District, Ventura County Resource Conservation District, Resources Legacy Fund, Patagonia and Matilija Coalition will also support voluntary on-farm conservation activities and invasive plant species eradication efforts in the Ventura River watershed, and implementation of interim fish passage and initial sediment transport improvements at Robles.