Questions and Answers
Send your questions about
FOHG or the Santa Cruz Harbor to us!
Question: What is the problem with the Santa Cruz Harbor?
harbor is currently experienceing a serious sedimentation problem in the
upper and lower harbor as a result of sand and silt flowing downstream
from the Arana Gulch Watershed. Many slips have become unusable as they
fill with silt and it is getting increasingly more expensive to remove
this material. The harbor does not have adequate funds to cover the costs
of removing this sand and silt. Estimates of the cost to return the harbor
to its design depth range from one to three million dollars! Loss of slip
revenues and increased disposal costs are leading to a crisis which must
be addressed by the Port District and the City & County of Santa Cruz,
as well as those responsible for the increased erosion in the Arana Gulch
Question: Many years ago,
there was a bucket crane which lifted mud and silt from the upper harbor.
This may have been a general solution to the 1989 earthquake. Is this
a normal maintenance operation?
Question: What is the relative level of hazard of the upper harbor dredge sediments compared to the harbor entrance dredge sediments?
Answer: Relative hazard
of materials all depends on which spots are dredged. All areas are tested
for biological toxicity and extensive chemical analysis before they are
permitted to be dredged. Finer sediments tend to have higher levels of
contaminants. That is why upper harbor dredging tends to be more 'controversial'.
But there are definitely areas in upper harbor that can be safely dredged
and pass all the EPA tests. Since the entrance channel material is usually
95+% sand versus 50-90% sand for upper harbor, the entrance material has
always had very minute levels of any contaminants. The main issue with
entrance harbor sand is the sometimes release of hydrogen sulfide gas
from rotting seaweed contained in the sand. As a result, there is a air
pollution protocol that the Port District follows to measure and mitigate
any hydrogen sulfide problems.
Question: Why was the Friends of the Harbor Group involved with the Twin Lakes State beach fire ring contamination issue? What does it have to do with dredging?
Answer: In case you are wondering why FOHG was involved with this issue, the explanation is that unsubstantiated claims were being made that arsenic and chromium contamination of a residence was occuring as a direct result of the Santa Cruz Harbor dredging program. Until FOHG's discovery and tests which showed that significant amount of arsenic and chromium contamination was being released by the burning of CCA pressure treated wood at the beach fire rings, the dredging program was the sole focus of the investigation of this contamination. You can read a summary of press coverage of this issue by going to the FOHG-horn News and following the links to the news stories
If you haven't yet joined the Friends of the Harbor Group, or wish to make an additional donation to support our continued work to lobby on the behalf of harbor users for a safe harbor entrance and accessible upper harbor slips, please go today to Become a Member or Make a Donation.
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Check back soon for detailed information on issues affecting the Santa Cruz Harbor!
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