Coastal Voices: Progress seen in restoration of our harbor

By Charles Slert November 21, 2011 06:08 pm

Exactly eight months ago today as your mayor, I wrote a Coastal Voices article where I pledged my and our City Council and City’s support in working together with the Crescent City Harbor District to assist in the recovery of our harbor so that we could be fully operational (more or less) for the state of crab season start.

I challenged the people of the North Coast to come together for our broken harbor and much-deserving local fishing community.

Here we are eight very quick, demanding and challenging months latter and against many odds and layers of bureaucracy, we as a community are at the threshold of the 2011-12 crabbing season and although it’s not perfect, we are operational.

So its time for Crescent City and Del Norte County to offer a salute to our colleagues at the Crescent City Harbor District for their leadership, management, hard work and discipline for staying the course and accomplishing the nearly impossible with the near completion of getting our harbor substantially operational for the kick-off of the new crab season.

I salute our harbormaster, Richard Young, for choosing to stay on here in Crescent City, when it would have been a lot easier to just throw his hands up and leave. I also want to salute our harbor attorney, Bob Black, and our harbor commissioners for their support, leadership and perseverance through these most challenging conditions.

Additional thanks go to the local engineering firm of Stover Engineering and associated engineers who have lead the recovery effort in many ways while continuing to advance the design and construction documents, coordination and preparation for both the 2006 and 2011 tsunami events, not to mention the multiple permits required by the numerous agencies (i.e.: California Coastal Commission, Coast Guard, Fish and Game, Cal-Ema, FEMA, Air Quality, Air Resources, Federal Agencies, State and local agencies, etc, etc). It’s a wonder much of anything was accomplished, given all of the countless variables.

Additionally, I want to recognize the efforts of organizers of the Fisherman’s Fund Raiser at the Del Norte County Fairgrounds, the generous donations of our local Ace Hardware, a major donation by Walmart, the National Emergency Grant secured by Rural Human Resources (which financed the Harbor Recovery Workforce Crews and its superintendents), the Reader's Digest “We Hear You America” contest which resulted in a $10,000 award that the Crescent City Council immediately forwarded to the Crescent City Harbor District to finance desperately needed, locally purchased materials. These contributions along with other donations have collectively contributed to our recovery process to date.

And equally worth noting is the exceptional political support of many of our representatives: U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, Congressman Mike Thompson, state Assemblyman Wes Chesbro, and state senators Doug LaMalfa and Doreen Evans. Most of these representatives made multiple trips and inquiries over the recent months, all interested in our timely recovery so that we as a community may realize our full potential for this coming crab season, which represents one of our major local economic engines.

So here’s a salute to all of our city, county and harbor community (staff and citizens) for all of your resilience, sacrifices, hard work, doubting, criticism, challenging, co-operation and support, as we individually and collectively move our regional community forward!

Charles Slert is mayor of Crescent City.