Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Is Humboldt Bay's Entrance Big Enough For World Class?

Discussion once again over at Humboldt Herald about improving Humboldt Bay's access to ships. Some think we can make Humboldt Bay a World Class Port. I'm skeptical of that and pointed out how small the entrance to the bay is. I can't imagine more than one decent sized ship going through it at a time.

So I decided to check around the state and see how wide other entrances to ports and harbors are. Using Google Earth and its "ruler" application, I measure a few of them and was surprised at my first two picks:

I grew up in Orange County so spent some time around Newport Harbor. Newport Harbor is by no means a world class port, being used mostly for recreational vessels. It measured about 257 yards across the mouth of its entrance.

The surprise was measuring Humboldt Bay. Just from memory, I figured Humboldt's was about the same as Newport. Nope. Humboldt Bay's entrance is just over twice as wide at about 600 yards.

San Francisco Bay's entrance at the Golden Gate Bridge is 2,149 yards. Now that's world class size!

Then there's Long Beach which I haven't really been to except having swam in the ocean there maybe once (yucky water). Looking at the picture (couldn't figure out how to paste Google Earth pics here), Long Beach has three entrances.

The biggest seems to be about 500 yards across, smaller than Humboldt. The other two are 377 and 318 yards. All smaller than Humboldt's entrance. Is Long Beach considered a world class port? I've always thought so.

There's certainly more criteria than just width of the entrance to a port- channel depth, being one. Still, I guess I wasn't quite right in thinking Humboldt's entrance isn't wide enough to be world class.

I still think it's too small for ships to do much once they get inside the bay. I'll be more than happy to be proven wrong.


At 1:53 PM, Blogger Steve Lewis said...

Here's something to think about. The Humboldt Bay contains decades of accumulation of increased sediments caused by over-logging and perpetual usage of homestead subdivision dirt roads. Hydro-physics say that if the accumulated oversedimentation is removed from the lower elevation Humboldt Bay, this will cause a flushing out of over-sedimentation all the way up all the rivers and creeks whose waters end up in Humboldt Bay. And a deep water world class seaport with still hundreds of acres of shallows and bottom lands left for aqua fisheries and water filtration. A trade off that could benefit all species who use Humboldt Bay if planned out carefully.

At 4:01 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

Not sure about that. I read somewhere that the bar into Humboldt Bay was only 16 feet deep when the first ship entered way back when. It's not like it was deep until we got here.

Also, much to my surprise, I heard that those bluffs above Broadway weren't always there. I'm referring to Wabash on southward to probably Ft. Humboldt. That land used to slop down to the bay.

It was in the late 1800s or early 1900s that they excavated the slopes to make it easier to go north and south. The spoils from the excavation were dumped....into Humboldt Bay, if you can believe that.

Wonder how much that filled the bay?

At 9:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a terrific idea for when NorCal, and southern Oregon split off to form the "State of Jefferson." Hell, I can at least dream for a moment. ;)


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