USA: City of Port Hueneme Seeks Money for Dredging Project
City of Port Hueneme officials are seeking the assistance of Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District Commander Mark Toy and his senior staff to obtain emergency funding to restore the rapidly eroding Hueneme Beach.
A May 14, 2013 meeting with Commander Toy will include officials from the Oxnard Harbor District, County of Ventura, Channel Islands Harbor, and other interested parties. City officials will urge the Corps to provide supplemental funding to perform a mid-cycle dredge of the Channel Islands Harbor sand trap and to place the dredged material at Hueneme Beach.
A site visit to the beach will follow the meeting, so officials can see the situation firsthand.
The City is currently in discussions with state and local officials, including Coastal Commission staff, to stabilize the beach and prevent further erosion until a mid-cycle dredge can be authorized. One possible solution to help protect the shoreline is placing additional amour stone alongside the riprap the Army Corp deposited beneath the beach surface in 1978.
“We are encouraged that the Commander is coming to see for himself the very real threat to hundreds of homes and businesses and millions of dollars in infrastructure in our communities,” Port Hueneme Mayor Ellis Green said.
Since January, high winds, abnormally high tides and large waves along the Ventura County coastline have reduced the sand the Army Corps placed at the beach in December. The material is taken from the Channel Islands Harbor and deposited immediately downcoast of the Port of Hueneme jetties where the natural littoral movement protects Hueneme Beach, Ormond Beach and the Point Mugu military installation.
Due to Army Corps budget constraints, the recent sand bypass opération was inadequate to sustain the shoreline until the next scheduled transport. Consequently, the beach is experiencing dangerous erosion that threatens infrastructure and flooding to homes, businesses, the deepwater Port of Hueneme, and Naval Base Ventura County.
After several cycles of reduced dredging volumes, the sand trap contains around 2.5 million cubic yards of sand. Accordingly, City and Channel Islands Harbor officials have been actively working with federal, state, and local officials in support of a mid-cycle dredging and sand bypass operation for beach restoration.
“Dredging the sand trap will preserve and promote our beaches that are intricately linked to our economy. Until we can secure the necessary federal funding to dredge the sand trap, we’re taking every available step to stabilize the situation,” Mayor Green said.
In February, the City sent letters to Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-Oak Park), Senator Dianne Feinstein (CA-D), and Senator Barbara Boxer (CA-D) advocating for supplemental funding to dredge the sand trap and replenish Hueneme Beach. After sending the letters, Council Member Jonathan Sharkey traveled to Washington, D.C., where he emphasized the City’s support for this funding in meetings with Congresswoman Brownley and the two California Senators’ staff members.
Council Member Sharkey also met with senior officials at the U.S. Army Corps headquarters to express the critical urgency of restoring sand to Hueneme Beach. In addition to the D.C. meetings, Council Members Sharkey and Douglas Breeze met with Congresswoman Brownley on April 2 in her Oxnard office to update her on Hueneme Beach erosion.
Press Release, June 26, 2013