On Thursday, May 10, at the California Coastal Commission hearing, the Oxnard Harbor District proposed to place 30,000 cubic yards of sediment dredged from the Port of Hueneme at two sites that have been identified to receive the dredged material. The first site is an approximately 9-acre area of Hueneme Beach that is located immediately seaward of the Port, and the second site is an approximately 27-acre nearshore area that is located adjacent to Hueneme Beach. Staff recommended approval of the proposal with special conditions to protect sensitive species, water quality and public access - given that initial sampling found the sediment consistent with environmental thresholds.
The Surfrider Foundation Ventura County Chapter expressed opposition on two accounts. First, the dredged material is not entirely non-toxic and deposits of more toxic sediment may end up on a beach where children play and sensitive species reside. Second, the dredges material is made up of 25% fine sediments which will result in poor water quality and high turbidity - which is dangerous for swimmers and impacts the surfing wave because it will create a steep beach face. Surfrider asked that the sediment be placed entirely offshore and not directly on the beach.
Commissioners agreed with Surfrider and voted to prohibit the sediment from being placed on Hueneme Beach. The motion passed unanimously. The material proposed for deposition on Hueneme Beach is a potentially toxic, fine grained sediment that would cause poor water quality and a very steep beach profile that would negatively impact recreational opportunities and the surfing wave quality.