U dock is gone, but that may not be enough damage to qualify for federal aid. Photo by Tessa Stuart.
Cleanup continued at Santa Cruz Harbor over the weekend, right in time for National Tsunami Awareness & Preparedness Week, which begins today. Limited access was granted briefly to the harbor, though this was rescinded on Friday almost as soon as it was granted due to the high waves and stormy weather. Cleanup efforts slowed to a crawl, hindered by the inclement conditions.
Meanwhile, officials are pondering whether the design of the harbor contributed to the damage. The tsunami had less of an effect, for instance, on the Moss Landing Harbor District, which is only 24 miles down the coast yet barely suffered any damage. Part of the problem, they now say, is that the Santa Cruz Harbor is much more shallow, and the narrow north channel coupled with the Arana Gulch drainage area made the site more vulnerable. Some officials also note that the U-dock, which was destroyed, was under renovation, and that two maintenance workers had been let off. It is unclear whether they would have done anything to mitigate the damage.
Ironically, one of the problems that the harbor now faces is that the damage, estimated at $26 million, may not have been severe enough to warrant federal aid. On a visit to the site on Friday, Congressman Sam Farr noted that in order to be eligible for federal relief, damage must exceed $44 million.
Read more at NBC Bay Area
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