This page highlights the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) analyses that have been completed or are ongoing to date. This page will be updated as new environmental compliance documents are completed.

The 2004 joint Environmental Impact Statement / Environmental Impact Report (EIS/EIR) evaluated the multiple project components that comprise the Matilija Dam Ecosystem Restoration Project. The preferred alternative for dam removal in 2004 included the physical removal of much of the accumulated fine sediment within the reservoir area. Some of this sediment would be placed in Matilija Canyon upstream, and some would be placed on the wide floodplains downstream. Community concerns with this proposed approach led to a multi-year search for alternatives by Watershed Protection and stakeholders, and in 2016 a consensus was reached around a more natural approach to sediment management forming the basis for the contemporary version of the dam removal Project.

Prior to dam removal, various downstream components would need to be constructed or upgraded to protect communities and infrastructure from anticipated increased sediment transport and flood flows. These components include: increasing flow capacity under the Camino Cielo and Santa Ana Boulevard Bridges; upgrading existing levees at Live Oak Acres and Casitas Springs; constructing a new levee at Meiners Oaks; and modifying the Robles Diversion Facility. Several other components that were included as part of the Project have been partially completed or are still ongoing today. These consist of recreational elements including construction of a new trailhead at Old Baldwin Road in 2011, ongoing habitat enhancement through the removal of giant reed, and the construction of two wells at Foster Park.

2004 Final EIS/EIR

2004 Final EIS/EIR Technical Appendices

2004 Draft EIS/EIR

In 2010, Watershed Protection completed a Final Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) and Initial Study for the California River Parkways Trailhead Project, a component of the Matilija Dam Ecosystem Restoration Project. The MND analyzed a new trailhead to the existing Ojai Valley Land Conservancy trails network at Old Baldwin Road. The trailhead and associated parking area were constructed in 2011.

2010 Final MND

A 2019 Addendum to the Final EIS/EIR for the Matilija Dam Ecosystem Restoration Project addressed the proposed replacement of the Santa Ana Boulevard Bridge across the Ventura River. The Addendum was prepared based on component changes and detailed design plans for the bridge replacement that were prepared in 2016 by Watershed Protection.

2019 Santa Ana Bridge Addendum

Technical studies to refine project features between 2008 and 2016, resulted in a new dam removal method and reevaluation of other project components. In 2017, Watershed Protection received funding to implement the Matilija Dam Removal 65% Design Planning Project, comprising additional technical studies, construction design, and updated CEQA analyses.

Watershed Protection has determined that preparation of a Subsequent Environmental Impact Report (SEIR) is warranted to provide a complete and objective analysis of the modified approach to dam removal. Details concerning the SEIR scope, process, timeline and public involvement opportunities are available via Watershed Protection’s Supplemental EIR webpage..

Additional CEQA analyses will occur as needed as project components continue through the design phase and funding becomes available. This page will be updated with new information as it becomes available.

A November 2020 application to the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) includes proposed funding for NEPA updates for Robles Diversion Facility improvements, flood protection at Meiners Oaks, and upgrades to the Live Oak Acres and Casitas Springs levees.

A November 2020 grant application to the State Coastal Conservancy (SCC) includes proposed funding to complete CEQA updates for the new (replacement) Camino Cielo Bridge.