Ships bypass Humboldt Bay due to shoaling

Jack Durham
Mad River Union

HUMBOLDT BAY – With shoaling at the entrance to Humboldt Bay hampering shipping, local officials are meeting this week with representatives of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to discuss dredging.

Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District Executive Director Jack Crider and First District Supervisor Rex Bohn plan to meet with the federal agency at its San Francisco office to determine a schedule for dredging the harbor entrance.

SILT SUCKER The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dredge deepens the harbor entrance on a previous visit to Humboldt Bay. Harbor officials are hoping it returns in July.                       Photo by Matt Filar | Union

SILT SUCKER The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dredge deepens the harbor entrance on a previous visit to Humboldt Bay. Harbor officials are hoping it returns in July. Photo by Matt Filar | Union

The harbor has already lost a visit from one ship due to the shoaling and will likely lose another before the problem is solved sometime in July.

One ship that was scheduled to dock in the bay and pick up wood chips in February was diverted to Coos Bay, Ore. to get chips from another supplier, according to Crider. The harbor will likely lose another visit before July.facebook-like-button

The trouble started last December after a large storm washed sediment down the Eel River and into the ocean. The massive glop then made its way into the middle of the harbor entrance.

After dredging, the harbor usually has a depth of about 48 feet. Last December, before the storm, the depth was 44 feet. It’s now at about 33 to 35 feet, Crider said.

The ships that come in and pick up wood chips from California Redwood need a depth of about 37 feet when fully loaded.facebook-like-button

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was supposed to dredge the harbor this month, but its dredge got caught up in litigation when it was in drydock in Portland, Ore., Crider said.

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3 Comments

  1. Dubonnet Hispano said:

    During the year ended June 30, 2014, the District entered into a purchase agreement with
    Nehalem River Dredging, Inc. for the purchase of a used dredge for a $950,000
    Plus 100 grand in repairs YTD

  2. Dubonnet Hispano said:

    Why doesn’t the Humboldt Bay Harbor District use it own million dollar dredge?

  3. Julie Timmons said:

    At last month’s meeting of the Harbor Working Group it was announced that the Group was encouraging people to wrtite to the Corps in support of the dredging program but the contact info they gave out was all snailmail. IF you have a good email address for the Corps it would be appreciated.

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