California Department of Fish and Wildlife awards $13.4 million grant to Matilija Dam Ecosystem Restoration Project

Santa Ana Bridge Replacement proposal to provide critical funding to restore fish habitat and allow for natural sediment transport to occur along the Ventura River Watershed.

The Ventura County Public Works Agency’s (VCPWA) Watershed Protection District (WPD) is pleased to announce that a $13.4 million grant from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has been awarded for the construction of the Santa Ana Bridge Replacement.

The funding of the grant, which will directly support critical ecosystem restoration in Ventura County, is an integral component of the greater Matilija Dam Ecosystem Restoration Project, and one of five public infrastructure improvements that must be completed before the eventual removal of the Matilija Dam. Removal of the dam will be a monumental stride toward the total rehabilitation of the greater Matilija Dam ecosystem; and will restore access to the spawning habitat of the endangered Southern California Steelhead, as well as enable natural sediment to be transported along the Ventura River watershed.

“This grant is a tremendous momentum builder contributing toward and carrying out the Matilija Dam Ecosystem Restoration Project,” said Glenn Shepard, Director of VCPWA’s Watershed Protection District.  “It is a major step forward in habitat restoration for endangered Southern California Steelhead, and will allow sediment to once again nourish our local beach coastline.”

Funding for the grant was provided by Proposition 1 and Proposition 68 Restoration Grant programs, which seek to further watershed restoration and other environmental protection projects of statewide importance.  

“The Santa Ana Bridge project is an important step in bringing steelhead back to their historical habitat,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham. “The Department is proud to support Ventura County and their partners as they work to realize this bold vision.”

More information on the Restoration Grant programs and other environmental protection and restoration measures is available at

Primary partner organizations include; Resources Legacy Fund, Patagonia, Matilija Coalition, Surfrider Foundation, California Trout, California Coast Conservancy, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, VCPWA Watershed Protection District, and National Marine Fisheries, as well as other local conservancies, non-profits, special districts and cities. 


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