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PH receives dredging update

City of Port Hueneme

Posted on April 22, 2024

The City Council’s dredging update during its Monday, April 15, meeting brought the body up to speed about the project affecting Hueneme Beach.

The project includes key partners, the Port of Hueneme, the Harbor, the Army Corps of Engineers, the United States Navy, BEACON, and others, which advocate for the project.

In the 1960s, Congress authorized dredging to re-nourish Hueneme Beach to remedy the negative impacts on regional sand transport and Hueneme Beach resulting from Naval Base Ventura Harbor construction.

City Manager James Vega presented the update, which he said is an effort to be one step ahead and give the item to the Council to prioritize.

“This is a project, and we continue to work and advocate aggressively for the City,” he said. “Our beaches are dependent on a dredging project every few years, and we lose our sand throughout the year. The way the Port and other items are configured, the sand isn’t able to get back to our beach, so we have to dredge.”

He said the goal with the County is to dredge about 2.2 million cubic yards every two years.

“Over the past three dredging cycles, starting with the most recent in 2023, we were able to dredge 2.4 million, which was the first year we’ve exceeded that goal for quite a while,” he said. In 2021, we dredged 1.9 million cubic yards, and in 2016, 1.6 million cubic yards.”

Vega said that followed a few years before when they weren’t able to dredge the sand as needed.

“Most people probably remember that the sand was essentially gone, and we had water right up to our retaining walls,” he said. “It’s an important project for the City, and one of the positives I can report is that we’ve had some early meetings with the Port and the Channel Islands Harbor representatives, the United States Navy, BEACON, and others involved. The Army Corps of Engineers, for example, and the positive is that everybody we’re talking to understands it’s important. For most of those agencies, it’s equally as important.”

“The Port and the Navy, these are critical projects for their benefit as well,” he added.

He said the initial budget allocation wasn’t where they expected it to be.

“We’ve had a number of meetings and issued letters of support to our Senator and representative to the County Supervisor’s Office and different representatives,” Vega said. “The process is happening a little bit differently this year, but all the parties involved told us this is a priority for them. The fact that we came together with the Port, BEACON, the Harbor, and others right away and reached out to them as soon as we had seen it looks different this year. We caught their attention, they understand the importance to us, and they understand it’s a priority. We’ve got a commitment from some of those representatives to put some effort into making sure the project’s going to happen the way we need it to happen.”

He said they’ve set up more meetings, but there is no action pending.

“The County Supervisor’s Office is going to host a stakeholders’ meeting that we’re going to participate in,” he said. “BEACON’s already their sand summit, which is another part of this process. Everybody is doing those things, and we’re all making sure we’re working together. We’re going to be in that process for the next few months, and we expect to spend some time doing those advocacy items, going into meetings, and representing the City.”

Council Member Stephen Gama said it’s important when talking about the sand issue advocacy to Washington.

“It seems like every two years, we have to go through this,” he said. “I Left 10 years ago when Surfside Drive was falling into the ocean, and the pier was closed for two years; it drives me kind of nuts that two years ago, we got to the right people in Washington, and they understood how critical it is to replace the sand that disappears and then here we are again struggling.”


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