HOODS and alternatives for HOODS expansion. Graphic: EPA.


If you want ships or boats in Humboldt Bay, you have to dredge it. Every year, nature does its damndest to fill in the bay with sand and silt and make in unnavigable. 

And if you’re going to dredge the shipping channels and harbors of Humboldt Bay — or if you’re going to dredge the very entrance to the bay, as you absolutely have to do — you have to dump all the stuff you dredge up someplace. 

To date, that place has been HOODS — the Humboldt Open Ocean Disposal Site, a patch of sea a few miles off our shore. But now comes word from two federal agencies — the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers — that HOODS is almost all full up, and we need to expand its boundaries if we want to keep dumping that earth into the sea. Those agencies will be holding public meetings on the topic on August 5.

One expansion option that will likely be of great interest to local dredgers is the possible addition of a “nearshore sand placement site,” which looks like a place people could simply pump the spoils to, rather than loading them up on barges and taking them out to the deep ocean — the much more expensive option that local agencies have been required to employ.

Notice from the Environmental Protection Agency below:



  • Purpose: Get information and provide early input about the planned enlargement of the existing HOODS disposal site 3 miles offshore of Humboldt Bay
  • When: There will be three opportunities on Monday, August 5, 2019: 10-11:30 am 2:30-4:30 pm, and 7:00-8:30 pm
  • Location: Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center, Room 203 921 Waterfront Dr, Eureka

In order to maintain safe navigation for recreational and commercial vessels, approximately 1 million cubic yards (cy) of clean sediment is dredged from Humboldt Bay each year. An environmentally appropriate disposal site for this sediment is crucial to the maritime-related economy of the region. The Humboldt Open Ocean Disposal Site (HOODS) was established for this purpose by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1995, and to date over 25 million cubic yards of clean sediment has been successfully disposed at HOODS without any significant adverse environmental impacts.

EPA and the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) carefully manage disposal at HOODS to ensure that the dredged sediment does not create a mound high enough to affect waves and the safety of vessels entering and exiting the Bay. But today HOODS is effectively reaching full capacity and needs to be expanded so that dredging for safe navigation in the Bay can continue.

EPA and USACE are holding scoping meetings to hear your thoughts and ideas about expanding HOODS. We will give an overview of the studies EPA has conducted around HOODS, summarize the alternatives we are considering for expanding the HOODS boundaries, and describe potential future options for placing clean dredged sand nearshore to help buffer against sea level rise, rather than continuing to dispose of it all offshore. Once an Environmental Assessment is completed there will be additional public comment opportunities, and we will also submit the proposed plan to the Coastal Commission for their Federal Consistency review. We look forward to hearing from you!

EPA and USACE are preparing an Environmental Assessment to expand the boundaries of the existing Humboldt Open Ocean Disposal Site (HOODS), which is nearing full capacity. Shown above are two HOODS boundary expansion alternatives in relation to the existing HOODS boundary, the 3-mile limit, the Samoa State Marine Conservation Area, and Humboldt Bay. Also shown is the location of a potential future Nearshore Sand Placement Site.