OXNARD, Calif.--U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District Deputy Engineer David Van Dorpe joined Rep. Julia Brownley and local officials here Oct. 14 to celebrate the start of maintenance dredging at Channel Islands Harbor that will replenish sand at nearby Silver Strand and Hueneme beaches.
"We're very excited to finally get our operations underway to dredge out, hopefully, the bulk of the sediments that are trapped up coast from the harbor and get them to the beaches down coast where they are sorely needed," said Van Dorpe. "We hope to add even more cubic yards of sediment through an amendment to the contract with additional funds for fiscal year 2015."
The $4.3 million maintenance dredging contract was awarded to Seattle-based Manson Construction, whose hydraulic cutter-head suction dredge, H.R. Morris, will dig up sediment from the harbor entrance and sand trap. The material will then be piped to and placed on the beaches that have been hit especially hard by recent storms.
An additional $5.2 million for the project is in the President’s fiscal year 2015 budget request. The Navy committed to funding 19 percent of the overall cost, bringing the total to nearly $12 million. Officials hope the funding will allow the contractor to dredge an estimated 2 million cubic yards of sand for beach replenishment.
"I am proud of the county’s collaboration and partnership with the Army Corps of Engineers and the effective advocacy of our congressional representative, Julia Brownley, that ensured the largest historical dredge of our Channel Islands Harbor Sand Trap," said Ventura County Supervisor Kathy Long. "The efforts of all who invested their time and energy into making this a reality will celebrate as each grain of sand is transported to its rightful place."
"While we can and should celebrate this victory for our community, we must also remain vigilant to ensure future dredging occurs on-time and is sufficient to keep Channel Island Harbor navigable and provide adequate sand for our beaches,” said Brownley.
The Corps typically dredges every two years under legislation that authorized the small craft harbor and sand trap to be built in the early 1960s. The harbor was designed to trap sand to prevent loss to the submarine canyon off of Port Hueneme and to provide dredged material for beach replenishment for downcoast beaches.
An increase in dredging costs and demand for dredging maintenance nationwide has limited the amount of dredging accomplished at Channel Islands Harbor in recent years. The last dredging of the harbor took place in January 2013 and only removed 600,000 cubic yards of sand.
Work on this out-of-cycle maintenance dredging project will take place seven days a week and is expected to continue through the end of the year.