Thursday, May 26, 2011
The damage to Santa Cruz Harbor during the March 11 tsunami caught a wave of press, and more than $20 million in disaster relief funding – but the subtler shock to Moss Landing Harbor almost went unnoticed.
In a claim filed late with the California Emergency Management Agency, the harbor district is seeking reimbursement for about $1.75 million in damages.
District consultant Ken Israel of Sea Engineering filmed the tsunami rolling in from the Sandholdt Bridge. The water surged and receded about 7 feet in a matter of minutes, slamming the docks against the pilings in two directions, he says. “It looked like rapids.”
Unlike in Santa Cruz, the toll in Moss Landing wasn’t immediately apparent. But a closer look by Israel’s firm revealed almost 200 damaged pilings and 20,000 cubic yards of extra sediment in the harbor.
“We didn’t have docks breaking and floating away,” Israel says. “The damage just took longer to evaluate.”
Cal EMA agreed to let the harbor district file its claim more than two months after the tsunami.
In a visit to Moss Landing last week, Cal EMA and Federal Emergency Management Agency staff substantiated damages in two areas. First, the tsunami had scoured the protective creosote coating off the pilings, and second, the sediment deposit made the harbor hard to navigate in places, according to Cal EMA Public Assistance Officer Michael Baldwin.
If FEMA approves the claim, it will reimburse the harbor district 75 percent of the cost of replacing the damaged pilings and dredging the harbor. The state picks up another 18.75 percent, and the county the remaining 6.25 percent.
Baldwin expects a decision this week.