A brief Baykeeper Off-channel dredging tutorial:
Off-channel dredging is done on a 7-to 10-year cycle. The marinas were last dredged in 2007. At that time, the Harbor District was told by several state and federal agencies that they’d need to come up with a new plan to dispose of the dredge spoils in the future, since dumping on the beach would not be allowed again due to the potential impacts to the public.
The material dredged from the marinas and docks is mostly fine sediment that originates upslope and flows into the bay from tributaries like Freshwater Creek. Contamination is a concern, since dioxins tend to bind to fine sediment, and are very persistent and extremely toxic to humans and wildlife. In 2007, Baykeeper prevented the dredge spoils from being dumped on the beach until testing for dioxins and PCBs was done. At that time, dioxins were detected above background levels at both marinas and most docks. Dredging was not done at docks with higher levels of dioxins and PCBs, since there was no plan for proper disposal of contaminated spoils.
EPA Says Eureka, Harbor District Should Have Known Dredging Disposal on the Beach Wouldn’t be Allowed
It has been a decade since Eureka’s public marina and the Woodley Island Marina were dredged to remove the sediment that accumulates on the floor of Humboldt Bay, and with the heavy rainfall over the last two years that sediment has built up to the point where boats are left nestled in mud, unable to leave the docks for hours at a time. Roughly 200,000 cubic yards of sediment needs to be removed.
Until late last week, the City of Eureka and the Humboldt County Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District, the two agencies responsible for performing maintenance dredging, planned to dump the dredge spoils on a beach along the Samoa Peninsula, as they have for years.
Late last week, though, the Environmental Protection Agency rejected that plan, sending local officials back to the drawing board. This caused much consternation for Miles Slattery, director of Eureka’s Parks and Recreation Department, who argued adamantly that beach disposal would be the least environmentally damaging option available.
But officials with the EPA told the Outpost in an email that local decision-makers were instructed nearly 20 years ago to make alternate plans for the dredge spoils, and they were reminded again in 2007.
Ten years ago they were told they couldn’t do it.
So what did the City of Eureka and the Harbor District do in the last decade…………..not a damn thing!
This is a classic Arkley technique, disregard the warnings and rules and wait until the last minute for some type of contrived emergency, hoping to have the regulations waved.
Sorry, Eureka Parks and Recreation and Harbor District, The Environmental Protection Agency shot down your plans. Local environmental groups had warned you many times this wouldn’t be acceptable, but nevertheless you persisted. So don’t go blaming the Coastal Commission and the EPA for your own arrogant stupidity, it’s all on you.