Useless Dam Causes Host Of Environmental Problems

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Tim Pearce Energy Reporter
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A dam in California is causing a beach downstream to slowly disappear by stopping the flow of sediment that would replenish it, E&E News reports.

Matilija Dam, built in 1948, was erected to provide farmers a failsafe source of water to combat a drought that was threatening agriculture in the area.

The dam has outlived its purpose, however. The river has filled with sediment and diminished its use as a reservoir, and the concrete barrier is disrupting salmon spawning patterns, the Ventura County Star reports.

“Here is a dam that is no longer being effective, above a beach that needs sand,” California Coastal Commission’s Lesley Ewing told E&E News. “Salmon don’t get up, sand doesn’t get down, and it’s not a structure that is serving any major purpose at this point.”

The 168-foot-tall structure would make for one of the largest dam removal projects in California. Destruction efforts have been bantered about for more than a decade, but definitive action has not yet been taken, according to the Ventura County Star.

The $111 million cost of removing the dam is the most contentious issue, E&E News reports.

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Tim Pearce