Hueneme Beach erosion has residents concerned


Hueneme Beach has long been a Ventura County respite, but now beach goers are noticing something disturbing.

"There are a lot more rocks over there than there is sand now. Used to be a lot more beach," said Scottie Chester, an Oxnard resident.

Sandy strolls have now become rocky walks. The sand is eroding and receding closer and closer to the road. Barriers and sandbags now mark high tide.

"Under normal circumstances, where we're standing now, the sand would be right over our heads," said Port Hueneme Mayor Jon Sharkey.

Sharkey blames a Navy jetty, which he says blocks the flow of sand. Sharkey says that every two years, the city has to ask for federal funding to replace the sand, dredged from the Channel Islands Harbor. But this year, the money has been scarce, and the beach has only gotten about a sixth of the sand it needs.

"The federal government is causing this problem, and they are responsible for putting the sand back on the beach," Sharkey said.

Tuesday, Congresswoman Julia Brownley announced nearly $12 million in funding will be available to replenish the sand at the beach. She says the money will come from the Army Corps of Engineers, the Navy and the White House.

The mayor says he's grateful, but that it might not go far enough. He estimates, to get the beach back to normal levels, they'll need another $4-$5 million.

"There's plenty of sand, there's plenty of money. Congress, because of political reasons, has decided not to spend that money and not to move that sand," Sharkey said.

A few picnic tables along the beach have been the casualties of the erosion. Residents fear the road and houses could be next if something isn't done soon.

"The high tide was coming up a little bit too close, too close to the road right here," said Leo Valles, an Oxnard resident.

"It hits you deep inside because this is kind of part of the history of Oxnard and Hueneme," said Justin Sigala, another Oxnard resident.

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