The Lake Piru Reservoir, in unincorporated Ventura County, provides essential water storage facilities for United Water Conservation District to supply downstream water users with groundwater recharge for agriculture and municipal supplies, as well as surface water flows into Piru Creek.
The reservoir is formed by the Santa Felicia Dam, a historic structure built in the first half of the 20th century. Catalyst led the EIR addressing proposed improvements to the Santa Felicia Dam and is now assisting United Water Conservation District through the Federal NEPA process with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The project was designed to ensure dam safety in the event of a large earthquake, in order to protect residents living downstream in the town of Piru from flooding. As part of the project design, the downstream channel would be removed and redesigned and constructed to provide flows to lower Piru Creek, which provides designated critical habitat to the endangered southern California steelhead.
The primary issues of concern for the project related to effects caused by construction activity; primarily recreational boating on Lake Piru and downstream whitewater flows. Catalyst conducted noise monitoring in the vicinity of the dam to establish ambient conditions and also led analysis of physical and social science resource areas. Because Catalyst was able to complete the EIR at early design stages, United was able to secure additional funding for the project. Catalyst is also working with the United Water Conservation District in coordinating with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to comply with their FERC hydroelectric permit conditions, and assisting with Section 7 consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Services, including preparation of a Biological Assessment.