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Matilija Dam Fine Sediment Management Study Group

For two decades stakeholders in Ventura County have been seeking agreement on how to remove the aging Matilija Dam on the Ventura River. While they were successful in developing an award-winning feasibility study with the US Army Corps of Engineers in 2009, disagreements emerged regarding the removal and management of toxic sediments behind Matilija Dam. CCP convened a study group for the State Coastal Conservancy, a major funder of restoration efforts in the Ventura River watershed, to seek consensus on a set of options for removal of these sediments. The mediation process began in 2010 and concluded with a final report a year later. CCP conducted an issues assessment at the outset, interviewing major stakeholders. The assessment resulted in a proposed study group and discussion process design that was adopted by the project sponsors in October 2010. CCP then facilitated a series of all-day meetings of the study group through early 2011. The result was a set of consensus recommendations for proceeding with an interim dam notching approach, as well as establishment of an independent technical advisory group to develop detailed plans for removal of the resulting toxic sediment while protecting local water supplies.