SANTA CRUZ (KPIX 5) — The recent storms are doing a serious number on the Santa Cruz harbor.
Parts of it are no longer safe to navigate and the storm damage has come with quite a price tag.
The low king tide is proving to be a royal pain as it exposes large mounds of sediment that have been deposited by recent storm runoff.
At the harbor entrance the pounding waves have dumped massive amounts of sediment into the channel.
It’s so bad that about a half dozen boats had to be relocated. One boat was stuck on Wednesday and was waiting for high tide.
Ruben owns a boat nearby, and doesn’t have it quite as bad, but his keel is still buried a few feet in the muck. It would also take a high tide, and a lot of work, to get it out.
Dredgers doing their annual winter work have had a tough go this storm season.
The port recently conducted underwater sonar scans, and their maps show it’s piled up high.
Throw in some seawall damage underneath Aldo’s restaurant, and a bunch of debris blown into the harbor, and you have a very expensive storm cleanup and repair bill.
Santa Cruz port director Lisa Ekers said she wasn’t surprised.
“History tends to repeat itself,” she said. “Our mission here is to provide water for vessels to move around and be stored in and when they can’t move then we have some serious work to do.
Ekers says it’s going to cost millions of dollars.
The county has declared a state of emergency, and will soon ask the state to help pay for it.
She said, “Currently estimating somewhere near $10 million dollars for dredging work, if it has to be done in an exotic or extraordinary way. We are.”
Until then, the harbor staff will do what they can, and dredge with in-house staff and equipment.
Nearby boat owners hope they’re boats aren’t damaged by sitting on the sediment, which has piled up on the ocean floor inside the marina.