The removal of Matilija Dam will restore endangered steelhead access to the Matilija Creek headwaters, enhance aquatic and terrestrial habitat along Matilija Creek and the Ventura River, and restore a more natural hydrologic and sediment transport regime from the present-day barrier to the Ventura River estuary.

Two 12-foot diameter orifices will be drilled near the base of the dam, and opened via controlled blasting (or with optional control gates) in advance of a large storm event – one with forecast flows sufficient to mobilize and transport millions of cubic yards of stored sediment from behind the dam downstream to the Pacific Ocean. Not all trapped sediment will be transported downstream, however, and a new creek channel will form through the old reservoir bed, with some of the old reservoir sediment expected to form new canyon slopes. Full removal of the dam structure will occur during the ensuing dry season, with restoration of native habitat and other post-removal activities to follow.