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Articles

Dam ‘muck’ impacting river water quality?

021518 paul jenkin ventura river hi res
Photo by Paul Jenkin
Discolored water flows through the Ventura River Preserve Feb. 12.
Perry Van Houten, Ojai Valley News reporter
Water quality downstream from the Matilija Dam is being negatively impacted by a “toxic brew” of stagnating organic matter in the reservoir, brought down by flooding following the Thomas Fire.
That's according to Paul Jenkin, coordinator of the Matilija Coalition, who says the “rotting stew” is consistent with known reservoirs and with his group's experience monitoring Matilija Dam over the years.
“This is a known impact on reservoirs in general — they can impact water quality downstream,” Jenkin said. “I think this fire has accelerated the process.”
The rotting organic matter was evidenced by a bad smell experienced two weeks after the flood.
“Pretty nasty,” said Jenkin of the odor.
Jenkin said it's likely that wildlife that perished in the fire, materials from burned residences and vegetation stripped from the floodplain have washed into the reservoir.

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