Thursday, February 1, 2007

Steelhead Migration Blocked at Matilija Quarry

Peak migration season for steelhead trout is drawing near, but a cluster of boulders and debris is blocking access to endangered trout's spawning grounds. Each year from December to June, the endangered species have been migrating from the Ventura River upstream to spawning grounds in the North Fork of the Matilija Creek. But in March 2006 operations at the Mosler Rock Ojai Quarry off of Highway 33 caused a landslide of rocks and dirt to tumble down into the North Fork, cutting off a critical point in the steelhead's migration path.
Now with the trout's peak migration season creeping up, the creek is still blocked, and no visible action has been taken by the owner of the quarry or by any of the regulatory agencies.


Paul Jenkin said...

This is especially significant considering the recent announcement by the Casitas Water District stating that last year they counted 14 adult steelhead trout passing upstream through their new $8 million fish ladder. The fish ladder was constructed in 2004 to allow the endangered trout access to their upstream spawning grounds. Unfortunately, all this effort and expense appears to have been in vain, at least as one can determine from recent events along the North Fork of Matilija Creek.

North Fork Matilija Creek has been identified as the highest quality steelhead trout habitat that is currently accessible within the entire Ventura River Watershed. Additionally, six years of water quality monitoring by the Ventura River Stream Team (a joint program run by Ventura Surfrider and Santa Barbara Channelkeeper) clearly demonstrate that this creek contains the most pristine water throughout the entire watershed. Until Matilija Dam is removed, this endangered species is restricted to five miles of spawning and rearing habitat in the North Fork of Matilija Creek. The blockage at the quarry reduces available stream habitat to less than one mile.

Valerio said...

Why does not OVN just include all the text from the published news article, so the full context of the issue can inspire a better comment?