SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Three weeks ahead of schedule, the Santa Barbara dredging is underway to open up a section of the harbor clogged by sand.
The narrow passage was too dangerous for some boat owners.
This week the Harbor Patrol has been escorting some vessels in and out so they did not get stuck on the sand bar that has developed, especially at low tide.
Waterfront officials and the Army Corps of Engineers saw the problem coming with the aggressive winter storms. This happened last year too, but it is not an annual surprise.
With early funding approvals, the spring work is starting early and a large amount of sand will be moved down the beach in a black pipeline.
It will be deposited east of Stearns Wharf and currents will take it to roughed up beaches down the coast which is a big help for those areas, including Montecito and Carpinteria.
The Santa Barbara Harbor is home to more than 1000 commercial and recreational vessels.