San Francisco Bay Crossings: Dredging Alameda Point Channel, January 2012


On Sunday, November 11, Dutra Dredging wrapped up five weeks of maintenance dredging in the channel leading to the Alameda Point docks. This channel is on the south side of Alameda Point where the maritime ships and USS Hornet are docked. Half of the dredge soil went to the in-bay disposal site at Alcatraz. The other half, unfortunately, was towed 50 miles out into the ocean—past the Farallon Islands—for disposal at a federally approved disposal site. A multi-agency effort to divert dredge material to beneficial reuse in the Bay and Delta proved ineffective in this case.

Alameda leases dock space to the Maritime Administration (MARAD) for their ready reserve ships. Part of the agreement is that Alameda hires a company at MARAD’s expense to periodically dredge the channel. The recent contract approved in September called for 50 percent of dredge material to be disposed of at the Alcatraz site and 50 percent in the ocean.

In late November, however, a request by the Bay Conservation and Development Commission to send the ocean portion to the Montezuma Wetlands restoration project in Solano County raised hopes for beneficial reuse. Dutra Dredging agreed, but Montezuma said it was unable to take material at this time due to a problem with the pipeline through which the dredge slurry is pumped.