The Ventura River is a river in Ventura County, California. The river forms at the confluence of Matilija Creek and North Fork Matilija Creek, 16.5 miles (26.6 km) upstream from the Pacific Ocean. San Antonio Creek joins the river halfway to the ocean and Coyote Creek does the same a couple of miles downstream.
Genetic analysis of the steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in the Ventura river watershed (both above and below Matilija Dam) has shown them to be of native and not hatchery stocks. In 1997 the Ventura River steelhead, part of the Southern California Steelhead Distinct Population Segment (DPS) were listed as federally endangered.
However, the flow from Coyote Creek has not been very large since the completion of Casitas Dam, which forms Casitas Reservoir. The dam is about 2 miles upstream of the junction with the Ventura River. The Robles Diversion Dam was constructed on the Ventura River in 1958 to divert up to 107,800 acre-feet of water per year through a four-and-a-half mile canal to Casitas Reservoir. Casitas Reservoir is located on Coyote Creek, but receives about 40% of its water from high winter flows in the Ventura River. Casitas Municipal Water District sells water to both domestic and agricultural customers.
The Matilija Creek tributary is also dammed, by Matilija Dam. Completed in 1948, it was built to store 5,000 acre feet (6,200,000 m3) of water, but sediment has reduced its capacity by 90%. Many groups, including some governmental ones, are working towards the removal of the dam. On November 8, 2007, the 110th Congress overturned President Bush's veto of a bill delegating approximately $89.7M to the project. Finally, Robles Dam, which is 2 miles downstream from Matilija Dam, diverts water to Lake Casitas, further reducing the river's flow.
- U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Ventura River
- U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline data. The National Map, accessed March 16, 2011
- Anthony J. Clemento, Eric C. Anderson, David Boughton, Derek Girman, John Carlos Garza (2009). "Population genetic structure and ancestry of Oncorhynchus mykiss populations above and below dams in south-central California". Conservation Genetics: 1321–1336. Retrieved 2011-06-11.
- NOAA/NMFS (1997-08-18). "Endangered and Threatened Species: Listing of Several Evolutionary Significant Units (ESUs) of West Coast Steelhead". Federal Register. Retrieved 2013-03-16.
- "Robles Dam". U.S. Department of Interior Bureau of Reclamation. 2009-06-04. Retrieved 2013-03-16.
- Santa Barbara Channelkeeper
- Friends of the River - Matilija Dam
- United States Bureau of Reclamation - Ventura River Project
- Ojai Valley Land Conservancy Ventura River Preserve
- Ojai Valley Land Conservancy Ventura River Steelhead Preserve
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