Monday, September 21, 2015

Port of Oakland Makes Dredging Progress

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Oakland said Sept. 21 that it is nearly a third of the way through its annual maintenance dredging program for 2015 and that by November it plans to scoop 185,000 cubic yards of sediment from 17 deep-water shipping berths. The goal of the $3.7 million project: maintain 50-foot depths so container ships aren’t stuck in the mud.

“This is one of the least glamorous, but most important jobs a port authority has every year,” the port’s Director of Engineering, Chris Chan, said. “Few ports nationwide have the deep-water capability to berth the biggest container vessels, so we need to continually protect that advantage.”

Vessels capable of carrying up to 14,000 TEUs berth at Oakland, among the largest ships calling US ports. Berths and approach channels must be 50 feet deep to accommodate them.

The port said it has dredged 45,000 cubic yards of material from six berths since dredging began in August, and that it will clear another 140,000 yards of material from 11 additional berths.

Dredging season is restricted to this time period to protect endangered fish and fowl. Sediment dredged from Oakland berths is being deposited at the Montezuma Wetlands on Suisun Bay. The 2,400-acre marsh is being restored as a shorebird habitat.