Graffiti is often a blight, but this ingenious artwork is a peaceful demonstration against the continued presence of a California dam that serves no purpose, yet keeps the Ventura River from flowing free and blocks the migration of anadromous fishes. This passage from the website of the Matilija Coalition explains the problem:
In 1948, over many objections and reservations, construction of a dam on the Ventura River was completed. It’s stated purpose was water storage and flood control. Even from the conceptual stage, it was not clear that the dam would serve those ends. However, what became painfully clear soon afterward, were two environmental tragedies: disastrous decline of steelhead fisheries and starvation of beaches normally fed by sediments of the Ventura River. Now, half a century later, the capacity of the Matilija Reservoir has been reduced by over 90%, a result of the entrapment of six million cubic yards of sediment. With its crumbling concrete and silt filled reservoir, Matilija Dam no longer serves any beneficial purpose. The Ventura River sleeps behind the dam. With its removal, ocean-going fish will again be able to use the river to spawn, and the beaches will be able to feast on sediments transported down the river from the steep canyons of Matilija Creek. The time has come to undo the damage of that bad idea. It’s time to take it down.