Ventura Hillsides Conservancy to host free community lecture, “Matilija Dam: Breaking the Barrier,”

On Thurs., July 20, at 7 p.m., the Ventura Hillsides Conservancy (VHC) will host a free community lecture entitled “Matilija Dam: Breaking the Barrier. Paul Jenkin, founder of the Matilija Coalition and campaign coordinator for Ventura Surfrider Foundation, will discuss ongoing efforts to remove the obsolete Matilija Dam from the Ventura River. The goal of the Matilija Dam removal project is to restore fish passage to the upper watershed and natural sediment transport to local beaches.

Constructed in 1948 on Matilija Creek, a tributary of the Ventura River, the dam no longer serves its intended purpose. Over time the reservoir has filled with sediment, yet the crumbling concrete continues to trap sand that should flow downstream and replenish Ventura beaches.

The Matilija Coalition is a local organization that includes Ventura Surfrider Foundation, Patagonia, California Trout, and others. For nearly 20 years the coalition has been working with state and federal agencies to develop a strategy to remove the dam and restore the river. The proposed demolition of Matilija Dam, 16 miles upstream from the Pacific Ocean, is part of a movement across the western U.S. to remove obsolete dams that are a danger to humans and an environmental threat to wildlife.

This free community lecture, a part of VHC’s ongoing Environmental Speaker Series, will take place in the Ventura Room at the Poinsettia Pavilion, 3451 Foothill Road. Reservations are highly encouraged. To RSVP, visit For more information, call VHC 643-8044.

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