The Ventura Harbor will receive $10.5 million in federal funding for a massive dredging project that it says is vital to its operations.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers work plan includes $7.1 million for the project and President Obama’s 2015 budget plan earmarks an additional $3.4 million. The March 4 announcement came from the office of Rep. Julia Brownley, D-Westlake Village.
“In prior fiscal years, funding for dredging at Ventura Harbor has been inadequate, threatening navigation of the channel, as well as the economic viability of the harbor,” Brownley said in a statement.
Ventura Port District General Manager Oscar Peña said the funds will be used by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers “to perform a complete dredging of the Ventura Harbor entrance channel area and will therefore have a very positive effect on the commercial and boating interests that are dependent on that entrance channel.”
The harbor generates $246 million in economic activity in the region per year, port officials said, and services the largest squid fishing fleet on the West Coast, generating annual revenue of $50 million. Its commercial and recreational fishing operations directly employ 600 crew members, truck drivers and laborers. Another 300 employees are in nearby processing facilities.
The harbor also provides access to Channel Islands National Park. The park’s mainland visitor center receives 300,000 visitors per year, with 30,000 visitors traveling to the islands and another 60,000 using park waters, according to Brownley’s statement.