For more than two decades the Matilija Dam Ecosystem Restoration Project has worked to advance Matilija Dam removal through a diverse public-private partnership involving local, state, and federal agencies, stakeholders, non-governmental organizations, private funders, and dedicated members of the community. The Project is overseen by the Ventura County Board of Supervisors and managed by the Ventura County Public Works Agency – Watershed Protection with support from a wide array of technical consultants, funding partners, resource agencies, private non-profit organizations and their consultants.
In 2014 a multi-disciplinary group of partners and stakeholders began to explore alternatives to the then-proposed Project that would improve sediment management as part of the dam removal process. In 2016 this Design Oversight Group achieved near-consensus on the current Project plan, which will utilize high flows during large storm events to move accumulated reservoir sediment downstream through the Ventura River system. Members of the Oversight Group included Watershed Protection, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, NOAA Fisheries, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, State Coastal Conservancy, Casitas Municipal Water District, Meiners Oaks Water District, Ventura River Water District, City of Ventura, Surfrider Foundation and the Matilija Coalition.
A Matilija Project Funding Committee was established in 2016 to assist Watershed Protection in developing funding sources to support the design, permitting, and implementation of the newly-configured Project. The original Funding Committee included representatives from the National Marine Fisheries Service, Ventura River Watershed Council, Patagonia, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Surfrider Foundation, Matilija Coalition, State Coastal Conservancy, California Trout, NOAA Restoration Center, Stoecker Ecological, State Coastal Conservancy, and Resources Legacy Fund. Current members of the Matilija Funding and Outreach Subcommittee (see Organization page) include most of the entities above as well as representatives from the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy and the Pew Charitable Trusts.
Since 2001 the Project’s funding partners have included many of the core entities above as well as the National Park Service, U.S. Geological Survey, Natural Resources Conservation Service, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and the California Natural Resources Agency, Department of Water Resources, Water Resources Control Board and Wildlife Conservation Board.