The Ventura Harbor entrance channel and sand trap (the area behind the offshore breakwater) require annual maintenance dredging in order to ensure that vessel traffic can safely access the harbor and its maritime support facilities. This effort is a responsibility of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers pursuant to Public Law 90-483, approved by the U.S. Congress in August 1968. The Corps usually accomplishes the dredging in the first quarter of each calendar year provided that Congress has included funding for the effort in their current federal budget.
The need for the maintenance dredging results from the down coast movement of an average of about 600,000 cubic yards of sandy material each year which is deposited by littoral processes in the sand trap and entrance channel. If this material is not dredged and deposited on the down-coast beaches, the harbor entrance can become unsafe for vessel navigation. Securing the necessary Congressional funding for the dredging effort, given the continual budgetary difficulties confronting the Congress, is an ongoing challenge that the Port District works diligently to facilitate. For this reason, the District must devote considerable effort to regular coordination with the Army Corps of Engineers with their District office in Los Angeles, the Division office in San Francisco, and their Headquarters in Washington, D.C. The District is also blessed to receive strong support from our federal representatives in its quest each year for $5 to $7 million in dredging funds.
Additionally, The Port District is responsible for permitting, funding and contracting the periodic maintenance dredging of all navigation channels within the inner harbor and harbor entrance. Cooperatively, the City of Ventura works with the District to maintain access to the Ventura Keys. In order to assure that funds are available to fulfill its obligation, the District has established a $3 Million dredging reserve. During the current dredging program, the District and City plan to dredge the Ventura Keys stub channel, provided the environmental conditions for dredging are met (specifically, that the Santa Clara River is flowing and the river mouth is open to the ocean).
California Marine Affairs & Navigation Conference (CMANC)
Throughout each year, District staff attends multiple CMANC meetings to coordinate with other port agencies and federal Government officials to help in securing funding for the Corps to perform the Harbor’s annual maintenance dredging. CMANC is a consortium of California harbors, ports, and marine contractors, and interest groups and has strong, active participation from the Corps of Engineers. The mission of CMANC is to optimize California maritime benefits by providing advocacy for the maintenance and improvement of California harbors, ports, and navigation projects. CMANC works with the congressional delegation to make sure that California maritime interests are supported by the federal government to the greatest extent possible.
Dredge Updates & Safety Notice to Boaters
Through most of February, the Manson Construction Company will be dredging the entrance to Ventura Harbor as well as the sand trap, located to the West of the channel, as well as the inner harbor stub channel to the Ventura Keys.