OCEANSIDE — The Oceanside Harbor will not be dredged any time soon.
According to Oceanside Public Works Director Kiel Koger, the annual project has been delayed as the Army Corps of Engineers, who manages the dredging, did not receive a permit from the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board.
The dredging typically takes place in April or May with a goal of being completed before Memorial Day and the start of the summer tourist season.
Koger said this year’s project was to remove between 225,000 and 250,000 cubic yards of sand from the mouth of the harbor and refill the city’s beaches. Although the dredging is delayed, he said the Army Corps of Engineers will monitor the harbor and if needed, dredging may commence in September or October.
“Obviously, we are disappointed that the project didn’t get done,” Koger said. “They are doing surveys to check the sand level at the harbor mouth. They think it is OK now.”
One positive, Koger said, was the Army Corps of Engineers conducted a dredging project last fall, which removed about 450,000 cubic yards of sand, thus providing it some flexibility.
Currently, the sand is 20 feet below the water’s surface, but with dredging it deepens between 26 and 28 feet. Another benefit of the dredging is to open the mouth of the harbor for boat traffic.
“It shouldn’t affect anything,” Koger said. “Obviously, we would’ve liked to put more sand on the beaches for the tourists and residents.”
While replenishing the city’s beaches is a priority, Koger said the summer shift in currents will help replenish lost sand.
In early April, the city was notified that operations could be pushed back another month, with a possibility of cancelling the plans altogether, The Coast News previously reported.
Then, the project was supposed to begin on May 1 and be wrapped up by Memorial Day to avoid interfering with the summer tourist season.
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.
“We removed a lot of material last year, and that helped,” he said.
The Army Corps of Engineers 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.
According to the Army Corps of Engineers, the Oceanside Harbor navigational dredging is an annual project it conducts to maintain the federal channels within the harbor at their authorized federal depth and to provide safe navigation for the recreational, commercial and military vessels using the channels. Oceanside Harbor is one of four annual dredging projects conducted by the Los Angeles District.