The MDERP has made considerable progress over the past 5 years thanks to an all-important $3.3M design planning grant from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to the County of Ventura in 2017. That grant has served as the essential foundation for an ongoing series of updated technical studies, evolving design plans, and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) compliance related to revised sediment management plans, updated hydrology, and other significant changes to the comprehensive Matilija Dam removal effort since it was authorized as a Federal Project in 2007.

A host of other associated Current Project priorities are being addressed concurrently thanks to more than $25M in additional state and private philanthropic funds secured since 2017. These include new funds to complete final design plans for Matilija Dam removal, for three downstream flood protection projects, and for a new (replacement) bridge at Camino Cielo; for construction (now nearly complete) of the Santa Ana Boulevard Bridge replacement project; and for the next phase of collaborative design planning efforts at the Robles Diversion and for the adjacent Meiners Oaks reach. The Project Elements tab on the side bar includes high-level summaries for each essential infrastructure component, up to and including Matilija Dam removal.

Funding commitments from CDFW, SCC, WCB, RLF, Patagonia, Inc., Pew Charitable Trusts and other Project partners have also helped to pave the way for a new NRCS PL 83-566 federal assessment that holds promise for more than $50M in future planning, design and implementation support for key Project components. These commitments have also helped to secure support in both Houses of Congress for up to $1.5M for the Bureau of Reclamation’s technical assistance with the Robles re-design work. For additional information on these and related efforts, please see Grants and Requests in the Costs and Funding tab.

The complexity of this watershed-scale endeavor has required detailed and time-intensive sediment transport modeling to accurately assess and document potential increases in flood risks attributable to Dam removal along with other impacts and benefits. These efforts, in turn, have led to the need for additional CEQA studies, more deliberate and specific outreach to concerned landowners and stakeholders, more extensive technical reviews, and development of a more comprehensive framework for documenting and accounting for anticipated impacts, mitigation measures, and offsetting long-term benefits. Support for all of this work is the focus of current “critical path” fundraising by the County and Project partners.

The Project’s public-facing Spring and Fall Updates – conducted bi-annually since 2020 – highlight much of this continuing work program – see Community and Stakeholder Updates on the Documents page for meeting agendas, presentations and recordings. A Subsequent Environmental Impact Report (SEIR) focused on Matilija Dam removal is also under development, with a Draft SEIR anticipated for public release towards the end of 2023. For more information, please see Ongoing CEQA Updates on the Environmental Compliancepage.