Attached is a response to Linda’s article in the Crescent City Times. (Linda Sutters article “Harbor and the Dumps” published July 12, 2013). I believe Linda has misinterpreted some of what she saw, and I would like to offer an explanation of the current state of affairs regarding the Harbor reconstruction project. This is a project the community can, and should, be proud of. Our harbor was badly damaged in the tsunami of 2006. After extensive investigation it was determined that all the docks and pilings needed to be replaced. The Harbor Commission, knowing that Crescent City is prone to tsunamis, directed that future tsunamis should be accounted for in the design of a new marina. The Coastal Commission, also aware that Crescent City is prone to tsunamis, required that the new marina be designed to resist a 50 year tsunami event.
The design engineers, Ben C. Gerwick, Inc. and Stover Engineering, designed a marina that will resist up to a 50 year tsunami event. The Coastal Commission approved this design in February of 2011. Unfortunately, just when we were ready to begin rebuilding from the 2006 tsunami, we had another, larger, tsunami in March 2011. Where the 2006 tsunami damaged docks and pilings, the 2011 tsunami destroyed docks, pilings, and rock slope protection. The harbor was unusable after the 2011 tsunami.
The only bright spot from the 2011 tsunami is that it validated the Commission’s decision (after the 2006 tsunami) to consider future tsunamis in the design of a new marina. Had we taken the quick and easy route (by just rebuilding the marina the way it was) it would have all been destroyed again in 2011. This would have wasted time, money and increased the environmental impact.
The bottom line is that building a marina capable of surviving a 50 year tsunami has the lowest life cycle cost of all the alternatives. It also minimizes the economic losses to the community and the environmental impact from future tsunamis. People should know that the new marina at Crescent City Harbor is the only tsunami resistant marina we know of on the West Coast of the U.S. The engineers have never designed such a marina before, the floating dock suppliers have never built such a marina before, and the contractor has never installed such a marina before. This marina is truly unique and will be an object of study and interest to other harbors around the world.
I am glad you are interested in the harbor and hope I have answered your questions.
Crescent City Harbor District
101 Citizens Dock Road
Crescent City, CA 95531