Dredging delays cause for concern

Dredging delays cause for concern
A dredger ship operates in the Pacific Ocean near San Francisco. Manson Construction Co. is slated to dredge Oceanside Harbor under the supervision the the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Courtesy photo

A scheduled dredging of the Oceanside Harbor to remove built-up sand and help provide safer boating has been delayed.

The city expected dredging to begin in mid-April, a process overseen by the United States Army Corps of Engineers. Two weeks ago, the city was notified that operations could be pushed back another month, with a possibility of cancelling the plans altogether.

“(The city) is waiting on a required water quality certification from the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board,” said Kiel Koger, Public Works Director.

Oceanside has set a Memorial Day deadline to complete dredging operations to avoid interfering  with the summer tourist season and city-planned beach events.

There is no scheduled project start date.

“The project has to start by May 1 and be completed by Memorial Day weekend if it’s going to get done this year,” Koger said.

Manson Construction Co. is slated to dredge the harbor once work proceeds.

The removal process involves taking piles of built-up sand and relocating it to shrinking city beaches through a portable pipe system, providing both beach restoration and shoreline protection.

For the residents of Oceanside, extensive delays aren’t anything new. In 2016, CJW Construction submitted the lowest bid to dredge the harbor and was awarded the job, despite a lack of proper equipment.

Ultimately, operations stalled for months due to broken equipment and strong oceans swells. Throughout the process, three-feet wide dredge pipes disrupted tourist activities and negatively impacted the beachfront rentals market. City officials and residents refer to the debacle as a “lost summer.”

This year, the plan is to dredge 225,000 cubic yards of sediment from the harbor mouth.

The Corps has assumed responsibility for the $5 million dredging operation since the creation of the Del Mar Marina in Camp Pendleton was found to cause the city’s harbor to fill up with sand.

“This is a very important project for the city for many reasons,” Koger said. “It is needed to maintain the harbor channel depths, to reduce storm damage, provide surge protection to the harbor’s infrastructure and significantly reduce navigational hazards.”

The Coast News attempted several times to contact USACE officials for comment but did not receive a reply.

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