Ventura Port District officials, working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Coast Guard, have launched a two-phased program to address safety issues at the Ventura Harbor entrance.
This scheme is aimed to ensure that the upcoming dredging operation that is already scheduled can be expanded to address the heavy shoaling due to recent storms and high surf which has caused hazardous conditions in Ventura Harbor’s entrance.
Pleasure craft boaters have been advised by the Ventura Harbor Patrol to not venture out of the Harbor entrance, while commercial fishermen have been advised to proceed at their own risk.
Harbormaster John Higgins said that three factors are making the entrance very dangerous – unusually large waves and swells from the El Nino condition, shoaling and a strong current running along the inside of the breakwater.
Dredging Manager Richard Parsons and Ventura Port District Commissioners Everand Ashworth and Greg Carson have met with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who are responsible for the dredging of the harbor, to help secure an additional $2 million for dredging.
USACE recently issued a dredging contract to Manson Company, which is scheduled to start dredging of Ventura Harbor on February 9. In light of the safety issues posed by the heavy shoaling, Manson Company operators now hope to have the dredge in place as early as February 1, depending on sea conditions.
The dredge is currently in Long Beach undergoing repairs and could arrive at Ventura Harbor in a day’s travel if sea conditions become favorable.
The depth of the entrance channel, normally about 40 feet, is now 14 feet and narrow to the point that two boats could not safely pass one another in the entrance, according to Higgins. The district estimates there are 900,000 cubic yards of sand in the harbor sand trap and entrance.