Congresswoman Brownley Visits District to Celebrate Federal Funding for Annual Dredging

Left to right: Harbormaster John Higgins, Board Chairman Chris Stephens, California Congresswoman Julie Brownley, Sr. Business Operations Manager Todd Mitchell and Board Vice-Chairman Mike Blumenberg with check

California Congresswoman Julia Brownley, U.S. representative of California 26th District, recently visited the Ventura Port District to celebrate the federal appropriation of $5,516,000 for the maintenance dredging of Ventura Harbor. This is one of the Congresswoman’s ten Community Funded Projects which was included in the Fiscal Year 2022 Omnibus and was supported by Senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla. The Community Project Funding supplements the funding made available for the project in the President’s Budget and ensures that the entrance to Ventura Harbor will be well cared for through the next dredging cycle in early 2023. The check was presented to the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Ventura Board of Port Commissioners, Chris Stephens, and Michael Blumenberg.

Since first being elected to Congress, I have been tireless in my work to secure funding for the dredging and maintenance of Ventura County’s harbors. The dredging of Ventura Harbor is essential to ensuring continued operations of this critical West Coast fishing hub,” stated Congresswoman Brownley.  “The annual funding is vital to ensuring that the harbor’s federally authorized channel remains open to those who rely upon the harbor, including the commercial fishing industry and supply chain businesses.

Left to right:   Board Chairman Chris Stephens, California Congresswoman Julia Brownley, Harbormaster John Higgins at Harbor Cove Beach

“From my perspective, it is imperative that the federal government continue to invest resources in key economic drivers – like Ventura Harbor – which have direct impacts on our nation’s economic security, provide critical recreational and tourism opportunities, and are an essential part of our community,” Brownley stated.  “This funding will support operations at the harbor, support local businesses that rely on these waterways, and ensure the preservation of our coastline and beaches. The dredging efforts also help keep our local tourism and recreation industries thriving to provide recreational opportunities for everyone throughout the region. This is a real win-win-win!”

Ventura Port District General Manager Brian Pendleton stated, “The ongoing support of Congresswoman Brownley at the federal level has been exceptionally important to our region. Ventura Harbor has benefited from her support since her first year in office and we cannot thank her enough.

“The public benefit of the annual maintenance dredging extends far beyond keeping the channel open. The beaches at Ventura Harbor are some of the best in the county year after year because of the success of this program”, said Pendleton.

The dredging of the entrance channel is performed by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, and the Congresswoman’s efforts ensure that sufficient funding is provided to the agency to complete the project. Maintaining this deep draft navigation channel ensures that the nearly 1,500 harbor vessels, including the Channel Islands National Park ferries, commercial fishing vessels, and private boaters have unrestricted access between the open ocean, Ventura Harbor, and the Ventura Keys.

In addition to keeping the entrance safe and navigable, the high-quality sand is redistributed onto adjacent beaches. This beneficial reuse of the sand renourishes the beaches after the winter season erosion, providing a secondary benefit. This in turn helps to provide an accessible and safe beach going experience for the public, while defending protected species habitat. 

Ventura Harbor is home to a thriving visitor economy with hotels, restaurants, retail shops, commercial fishing harbor, boatyards, marinas, and many opportunities for families and travelers to enjoy the harbor’s amenities and coastal access both on and off the water. For additional information on annual harbor dredging and funding visit