Officials today celebrated the beginning of a five-month dredging project in Marina del Rey that will remove sediment to improve navigation through the entrance channel.
Paula Lee, a 2,000-ton dredging machine, will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to remove sand that has accumulated over the last 13 years and now jeopardizes response times for emergency and safety personnel.
“At times the water levels were at two feet,” said Lt. Reginald Gautt of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. “This affected our ability to respond to homeland security issues.”
At times, low water levels restricted navigation for several of the larger police and Coast Guard vessels – used for search and rescue operations and to combat drug smugglers. Once dredging is complete, the depth of the harbor entrance will be about 20 feet during low tide.
“Ultimately, the project will save lives,” said Mickey Gallagher, Los Angles County Lifeguard central section chief. “It will allow our boats not to have to cut down on response times.”
As the Paula Lee removes sediment, barges will transport about 520,000 cubic yards of it to the Port of Long Beach for the Middle Harbor Redevelopment Project, a $1.2 billion upgrade that will combine two antiquated shipping terminals into one, improving air quality and cargo accessibility.
Additionally, Dockweiler State Beach will receive about 140,000 cubic yards of clean sand. About 335,000 cubic yards will also be sent to Redondo Beach, mostly to an off shore point southwest of the Topaz jetty as well as on shore between the jetty and the beach at Ruby Street.
Although the newly deposited sand will appear darker at first – because it has been underwater – it will quickly become indistinguishable from the other beach sand.
“This is a great example of regional collaboration,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe. “It’s a win, win, win situation for everyone.”
He expects the county to save about $85 million and about 100,000 truck trips that would have been necessary to dump the sediment at inland sites. He anticipates the port expansion to create about 14,000 jobs.
Marina del Rey residents should not expect any noise disturbances, and the Los Angeles County Beaches and Harbors Department will work with the dredging contractor to reduce noise.
Should residents have any comments or concerns, please contact US Army Corps of Engineers Public Affairs Specialist Greg Fuderer at 213-479-8698 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Officials expect the finish the dredging project by September, but Redondo Beach restoration will likely continue into the late fall.