Church Says No To Silt Lease

By Daryl Kelley

With a Meiners Oaks church refusing to lease Ventura river-bottom land, government agencies have been forced to back away from their top choice for disposal of a 20-foot-high mound of silt as part of the Matilija Dam removal project.Members of the Church of the Living Christ rejected last week a lease with Ventura County and the U.S. government that would have allowed 2.1 million cubic yards of slurried silt to be piped from behind the aging dam to a 74-acre site at the base of a bluff next to Rice Road. That leaves the county’s Watershed Protection District, the U.S. Corps of Engineers, the state Coastal Conservancy and county Supervisor Steve Bennett with the question of how to proceed now with a key part of a plan to tear down Matilija Dam. Funding for $90 million of the $145-million dam removal project, the first of its kind in the nation, was approved by Congress last year. But where to move silt from behind the dam has become a thorny question. Project

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