Emergency dredging operations began late Wednesday night, at about 11 p.m., at the entrance to the Santa Barbara Harbor to remove the large amount of sand and sediment that was pushed into the harbor during the recent storms.
Chris Bell, public information officer for the city’s Waterfront Department, told Noozhawk that Pacific Dredge had been awarded the contract for the operations, and its dredge Sandpiper arrived in Santa Barbara last Sunday.
With the dredging operations underway, the harbor is under a complete closure. The channel is expected to reopen by late Saturday.
“Due to the massive amount of sand pushed into the harbor by the recent storms, the harbor entrance remains extremely impacted and hazardous to navigate,” a website on the Waterfront storm damage recovery effort said. “The dredge is expected to remove at least 30,000 cubic yards of sand from the harbor entrance to restore full access.”
The high tides and large swell Jan. 5-6 also caused some coastal erosion and washed away the protective sand berm in front of the Santa Barbara Yacht Club, allowing water to come underneath the building and damage the building’s HVAC, plumbing and electrical utilities.
To protect against further erosion, Cushman Contracting has begun installing a section of rock revetment between the Yacht Club parking lot and the Harbor West parking lot.
The Harbor West parking lot remains open for westbound traffic only and very limited parking.
Cushman Contracting is also placing sand on the beach to protect the parking lot, public restrooms and the Shoreline Beach Café.
“Cushman Contracting has completed 60% of the 380 linear foot emergency rock revetment, and looks to be completed by Jan. 31,” the recovery project website said. “The next phase includes installation of new property fences, gates and asphalt.”