No need to dredge: the spring cycle is complete in Santa Barbara Harbor

Harbor Commission seeks to fill two vacancies.

SANTA BARBARA ― Santa Barbara Harbor is ready for boaters to cruise in and out of its harbor following the completion of its spring cycle dredging, it was announced April 20. Meanwhile, the city’s Harbor Commission hopes to have two new members by summer.

February storms created ocean swells and shifting sands resulting in a partial closure of the harbor channel in Santa Barbara.

The Log, in early March, reported shallow waters and a safety zone designation in Santa Barbara Harbor. Large boats were advised to exit or enter the harbor only during high tide.

“The spring cycle dredging started three weeks early [this year and] removed 130,000 cubic yards to open up a narrow channel,” Waterfront Facilities Manager Karl Treiberg told commissioners at their April 20 meeting. “Because they dredged up so much storm debris, they had to shut down for repairs. Dredging resumed two weeks later on April 10.”

Treiberg added dredge work continued through April 19, with the dredging company removing 205,000 cubic yards of sediment.

Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) had awarded Pacific Dredge with a three-year contract for dredging Santa Barbara Harbor. This is year one of the three-year contract for the spring cycle, according to Treiberg.

West Beach in Santa Barbara has required “chronic shoaling over the years,” Treiberg also mentioned.

The Waterfront Facilities Department has been working with an agency called Beach Erosion Authority for Clean Oceans and Nourishment, otherwise known as BEACON. A grant application was put together with Channel Islands, Ventura and Santa Barbara Harbors.

“We put together a grant application for a total of about $2 million for the three harbors [Channel Islands, Ventura and Santa Barbara Harbors] to dredge these areas that are either in the sand traps or outside the responsibility of the Corps of Engineers,” Treiberg stated at the meeting.

Santa Barbara Harbor is seeking $460,000 of the $2 million request, according to the multi-agency grant application. Whether the application will be approved and the funds be made available won’t be known until 2018.

“The earliest the dredging from the funds that may become available is Fall 2018,” Treiberg stated.

On another topic of discussion, the Santa Barbara Harbor Commission is currently looking to fill two vacancies on its commission. Five people currently serve on the dais.

“The applicants must be city residents, registered voters [and] 18 or older,” Waterfront Director Scott Riedman stated.

The applicants also need to be available on the third Thursday of each month for commission meetings at Santa Barbara City Hall starting at 6:30 p.m. The application deadline was May 1.

Interviews are being held by the City Council on May 9, 16 and 23. Final selections will be made on June 6.

City of Santa Barbara photo

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