Friday, September 21 , 2018, 1:24 pm | Partly Cloudy 72º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Santa Barbara Harbor Takes Steps to Prepare for High Tides, El Niño Storms

Sand berms have gone up near the Yacht Club and East Beach as barriers to bolster the harbor and Stearns Wharf

Sand berms were built along the Santa Barbara Yacht Club and East Beach to protect areas from winter storms.
Sand berms were built along the Santa Barbara Yacht Club and East Beach to protect areas from winter storms.      (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

Sand berms have gone up to protect areas near Santa Barbara Harbor from high tides and waves, and another round of dredging is planned to further fortify the vulnerable area.

Manmade raised ridges of sand can be seen in front of the Santa Barbara Yacht Club near Harbor Way and just east of Stearns Wharf, ensuring Mission Creek waters don’t compromise the city’s popular pier.

Although the sunny, hot weather didn’t reflect it this week, harbor staff has been preparing for winter El Niño storms since October, according to Dominique Samario, an administrative analyst and public information officer with the city’s waterfront department.

“It’s something that happens every year,” Samario said of creating the sand berms.

“When the high surf is coming to shore, it’s pulling a lot of the sand that typically would be on our beach back into the ocean. We had quite a bit of sand at the mouth of the harbor. Wind and waves can be more of an impact here at the harbor and the waterfront.”

Dredging of the harbor, typically done once every spring and fall, is planned to commence in a couple weeks — a bit earlier than usual to ensure the harbor doesn’t get too clogged with sand and debris, she said.

The berms are meant to protect the yacht club along with the nearby boat yard and commercial operations, Samario said.

Residents took advantage of some added sand barriers to enjoy the warm weather Tuesday outside the Santa Barbara Yacht Club. Click to view larger
Residents took advantage of some added sand barriers to enjoy the warm weather Tuesday outside the Santa Barbara Yacht Club. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

She said the city has also staged some equipment in the launch ramp parking lot so if there is flooding or high tides, the department would be ready. That includes sandbags and the like.

“We want our staff to be able to respond as quickly as possible,” she said. “Mostly, we’re just trying to do as much prep as we can beforehand.”

The city’s waterfront department is prepared to send out reverse notification calls through the 9-1-1 system in the case of emergency storm situations to the 1,139 slip holders and 65 tenants in the harbor.

It also has a system that could send text or email alerts to stakeholders. 

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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