Active | February 14 2017
The City of Eureka and Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District are responsible for maintenance dredging of the public marinas, docks and boat launches in Humboldt Bay. The previous maintenance dredging was completed in 2007, after the Coastal Commission very reluctantly, in a 6-5 vote, approved the dumping of 200,000 cubic yards of dredge spoils onto Samoa Beach with the strong statement that it should never happen again. The EPA had also warned the City and District that it would not approve beach disposal again:
“…the commission notified the district that the practice should be discontinued… and the district must report to the Coastal Commission how it intends to prepare for future dredged and disposal needs.” – Arcata Eye, 2006
“The California Coastal Commission reasserted its stance Friday that the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District must find somewhere other than a Samoa beach to dump dredge spoils in the future.” – Times-Standard, 2008
2017: A failure to plan
The City and Harbor District have again failed to plan properly for this maintenance dredging and then insist the only option for the spoils is to dump them on Samoa Beach. This impedes public access and impacts beach use.
The City and Harbor District have ignored direction given from the agencies tasked with protecting the public interests, which creates unnecessary controversy in the community.
The City and Harbor District are failing their tenants by not planning, by not working with the relevant agencies and by not conducting advance public outreach – and then blaming recreational beach users for the same problem they’ve once again allowed to happen.
A history of evading requirements
As part of the previous permit, the City and District were required to place the spoils disposal pipeline outfall at a location where discharges would directly enter ocean waters and minimize their accumulation or persistence on the adjoining beach areas. Direct discharging of dredged materials on exposed beach areas would be prohibited. (See photo.)
The City and District were required to provide “annual reports detailing the efforts undertaken during the previous calendar year to prepare for future maintenance dredging in a manner that discontinues the past practice of nearshore disposal of dredged materials.” According to the City's website, they have not submitted a report since 2011.
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