Damn Sand Rights: Removing Rindge and Matilija Dams

by Mark H. Capelli, Environmental Studies Program, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Sand Rights '99: Bringing Back the Beaches


Two dams built in the 1920's and 1940's within southern California coastal drainages have reached the end of their useful lives, and their decommissioning and removal is being actively considered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. Both projects have the potential to replenish downcoast eroded beaches through the release of stored sediments and the re-establishment of natural sediment transport regimes. The removal of these dams are complicated by the disposition of stored sediments, which if released above background levels, could adversely affect downstream properties on adjacent floodplains, as well as sensitive species which occupy coastal wetlands at the mouths of both stream systems. Re-establishment of natural sediment transport from inland sources to coastal areas is receiving increasingly serious consideration in comprehensive coastal shoreline management programs, and offers an alternative to shoreline armoring and artificial beach nourishment programs.

Subject Headings: Sediment transport | Wetlands (coastal) | Dams | Coastal management | Beach protection and nourishment | Transportation engineering | Drainage | California | United States

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