CHANNEL ISLANDS HARBOR — A historic amount of dredged sand—about 2 million cubic yards (CY)—began pouring out onto Port Hueneme Beach on Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014, from the dredge set up in Channel Islands Harbor. A year ago April, the City of Port Hueneme declared a local state of emergency due to the severity of shoreline erosion that heavily impacted the beach and the stability of Hueneme Beach Pier.
During the development of the harbor in the 1950s, a sand trap was designed to retain sand for placement on Hueneme Beach every two years caused by downcoast erosion. As the sand gets placed at Hueneme Beach, it slowly flows southeast and helps protect Point Mugu and the remainder of the coastline toward the Ventura County line.
As of Jan. 12, 2015, 2.08 million CY had been dredged toward the goal of moving approximately 2.3 million CY. Before the dredging project started, there was no longer any sand at Hueneme Beach as it had eroded all the way in-shore to the promenade and road, and undermined the pier pilings as well.
After an eight-month closure to the public, the pier reopened Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and over 150 visitors attending the event. At a cost of about $700,000, 12 failed piles have been replaced, and additional repairs were completed to make it safe again for public use. Due to high tides and storms as well as severe sand erosion, the pier was declared unsafe for public use.
After cutting the ribbon and letting visitors once again walk on the pier, Port Hueneme Mayor Sylvia Munoz Schnopp said, “The pier has been reengineered and is safer than ever. We are so happy to have the pier reopened for all to enjoy.”
Not only does the dredge sand help Hueneme Beach and the pier, as it moves southward toward Mugu Rock it enriches Ormond Beach, which also desperately needs sand, as well as the shoreline of Naval Base Ventura County.
“This 2+ million CY of sand has created a wide sand beach, over 300 feet, and, the sand is filled in all the way down to the pier. As this sand migrates southward, the area of the pier pilings should have plenty of sand until the next dredge cycle,” said Lyn Krieger, Channel Islands Harbor director.
With the replenishment of Hueneme Beach sand, the dredge has moved to the harbor entrance to replace the last 200,000 CY of sand on Silver Strand Beach (southeast of the harbor entrance).
Dredging is also important for safe navigation of the harbor. This year, the main focus has been the areas around the attached jetties and detached breakwall.
A narrow channel developed near the north harbor (entrance) at 11-15 feet of depth, where it should be 35 feet. Restoring this depth is critical for boaters to ensure a safe entrance. Over time, a spur builds up at the main entrance jetty located at the south end of the breakwater. This spur has been cleared as well.
“The dredging work has gone extremely well, with no mechanical breakdowns at all and the highest productivity we have ever seen. It has been a really smooth job. Our boaters will soon be able to regularly enter the Harbor from the north, behind the breakwater. Many feel that is the safest way to enter the harbor, especially in the winter. Both north and south entrances will be safer, deeper and easier to navigate. And the city of Port Hueneme has a beach again! They can stop worrying about their roadway and underground infrastructure there, at least for now. It is win, win, win!” said Krieger.
Dredging will continue through most of January, then will move to Ventura Harbor for the annual dredge cycle there.