SB's guest gray whale.

Paul Wellman

SB's guest gray whale.

Whale Leaves, Dredging Begins

Army Corps of Engineers Starts Dredging S.B. Harbor

The unexpected guest that stayed for a while in the Santa Barbara Harbor - a 25-foot gray whale - finally departed, allowing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to begin a scheduled semi-annual dredging of the harbor’s entrance channel. The whale, first seen in the harbor three weeks ago and monitored by state, local, and federal agencies, has not been spotted by authorities since the 20th, prompting the Corps’ decision to move forward with the $500,000 dredging project, which was supposed to have started on March 13. “NOAA Fisheries would like to thank everyone involved for the patience, cooperation, and coordination exhibited during our vigil while the whale was in the harbor,” said Joe Cordaro, a NOAA Fisheries Service wildlife biologist.

The design of the harbor’s inlet causes sediment from the littoral current to accrue in the channel, necessitating maintenance dredging twice per year. AIS Construction, the contractor hired by the Corps to perform the dredging operation, fired up cutterhead dredge La Encina Friday afternoon. “It seems as though everything worked out, allowing the public to enjoy the whale’s visit to our harbor and now the Corps can get started with the spring dredging operations,” said John Bridley, the City of Santa Barbara’s Waterfront Director.

We enjoyed seeing the whale in the harbor like everyone else,” said Colonel Thomas Magness, Corps district commander. “I just want to commend the spirit of coordination and cooperation that helped inform our decision-making. Now we need to get to work.”

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

Be succinct, constructive, and relevant to the story. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Discussion Guidelines. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus
event calendar sponsored by:

Iron Chef Caused State Street Pedestrian Death

Famous Chef Larry Forgione charged with misdemeanor for driving into Gilbert Ramirez on February 24.

Lavagnino’s Sudden Victory

5th District supervisor a shoo-in as filing window closes; Gregg Hart also unopposed for 2nd District.

One Half of Old Town Streets to Get Sidewalks

Walkways planned for one side of Goleta neighborhood streets; parking, lighting talks at community meeting March 22.

After Disaster in Montecito, Where Is All the Money Going?

Santa Barbara nonprofits account for millions spent on relief efforts.

Santa Barbara Experiences a Rainy March, but a Dry Year

Water year only 34 percent of normal for precipitation.