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Grant to aid dam demolition

The California Coastal Conservancy (CCC) has approved a US$200,000 grant to help Ventura County to tear down Matilija dam in California, US. The demolition project will involve the removal of the 63m high concrete dam. The CCC funds are expected to initiate a pilot project aimed at removing 1.6m of the dam to help officials determine the best method for bringing the dam down.

A coalition of environmentalists, coastal businesses and fishermen is calling for removal of the dam which has been blamed for robbing beaches of sand and ruining migratory runs of steelhead trout in the Ventura river.

The Matilija dam, which was built in 1947, was supposed to store water and control flood surges but sedimentation has reduced its usefulness. The US Geological Survey and the Bureau of Reclamation are conducting studies on ways to remove the dam and restore the stream.