Matilija Coalition Logo

Statement of Purpose


Removing Matilija Dam:

Final Design:

Feasibility Study:

Early Progress:

Background Information:

About the Matilija Coalition:

Contact us


Timeline history of Matilija Dam

Prior to 1940 - steelhead/salmon population and other wildlife/natural resources

1941 - Corps of Engineers Study - concludes that Matilija would not provide adequate benefits to be cost effective (flood control & water supply)

1945 - County Bond issue passed - cost for Matilija to be $682,000

1946 - June 18 - construction begins

1947 - Mr Harold E Burket, architect - warns County Supervisors of alkali-reactive aggregate

1948 - March 14 - dam completed - study estimated 39 years before siltation would eliminate capacity

1949 - fish kill behind dam due to stagnant/hot water

1952 - reservoir filled - county sued

1959 - Casitas Municipal Water District assumes responsibility

1965 - Bechtel safety study condemns dam safety - dam is notched to 65% capacity

1973 - study on littoral processes highlights impact to beaches

1978 - dam notched second time

1998 - study begins on dam removal

2000 - BuRec Appraisal Study - Babbitt - etc

Matilija Dam in 1947

Matilija Dam after completion in 1948

Buried Treasure - Hanging Rock

As Matilija reservoir slowly filled with water in 1948-1952, a Ventura County landmark was submerged. The Hanging Rock of Matilija Canyon, also referred to as Overhanging or Leaning Rock, was enjoyed for decades by residents and visitors to the resort at Matilija Hot Springs, located closely downstream. Historical photos reveal that Hanging Rock survived the blasting necessary for construction of the dam, and it now lies deeply buried beneath a half-century of fine silt deposits near the dam. Hanging Rock will one day be resurrected as sediment is removed for the deconstruction of Matilija Dam, and future generations will again be able to enjoy this historical landmark.

Postcard of Hanging Rock

Photo Postcard, ca. 1900

©Matilija Coalition, All Rights Reserved, 2002.
Page last updated: May 2002