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Flynn to Push for Dam Dismantling

May 06, 2000|GINA PICCALO

Environmentalists and flood control officials will join Supervisor John Flynn in Washington next week to lobby federal officials for $3.7 million they say is needed to dismantle the Matilija Dam.

The 190-foot structure, built in 1947 near Ojai, has been blamed for endangering area steelhead trout and robbing local beaches of sand.

Flynn, along with the four other supervisors and Chief Administrative Officer Harry Hufford, will meet in Washington on Tuesday to ask federal officials to reduce or forgive a $15.3-million fine the county owes over improper Medicare billing.

While there, Flynn will be joined by Mark Capelli of Friends of the Ventura River and a representative of Ventura County Flood Control.

They will ask officials with the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to help fund dismantling of the dam.

There has been no opposition to removing the dam, and most say it has outlived its original purpose, which was to serve farmers and post-World War II cities.

Although portions of the structure are being removed with funds from a $200,000 grant from the California Coastal Conservancy, more money is needed to complete the job, Flynn said.

"We're kind of ahead of the game," he said. "We've moved faster than we thought we would. We're ready for the money now."

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