For the first time since 2011, Crescent City Harbor will be dredged to provide ships a safe passage.
As ocean waves roll in to the harbor, silt follows - eventually beginning to fill the mouth of the harbor and making passage difficult. If the silt rises too high, boats can run aground and must avoid the harbor, said deputy harbormaster Lane Tavasci.
The United States Army Corps of Engineers is overseeing and paying for Crescent City’s dredging project. The corps controls the maintenance for federal channels.
The dredging project began earlier this week and is expected to be completed by Oct. 15.
Ideally, officials said, dredging the harbor should occur every two years. But Tavasci said that’s a costly endeavor requiring numerous permits.
The process involves hiring a dredging company - this year, that’s Curtin Maritime of Richmond, California - then transporting the silt in several trips from the harbor to the Humboldt Open Ocean Disposal Site. “The bulk of this dredged material has to be barged down there, so that’s why it gets expensive,” Tavasci said.
Crescent City’s Harbor last was dredged after the 2011 tsunami, when the Federal Emergency Management Agency stepped in to clean up following the disaster.
After that long wait, the harbor will be returned to its average depth of 15 feet, ensuring ships can safely enter and exit.