The dredging project completed last month at the north entrance of the Marina del Rey main channel resulted in the removal of over 250,000 cubic meters of silt and successfully returned the north entrance to its design depth of 20 feet, Los Angeles County officials said.

The approximately $2.4-million project conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was started January 6th and completed March 15th.

As part of the project, the quarter-million cubic meters of silt removed from the ocean floor of the Marinaís north entrance was transported to an area offshore of Dockweiler State Beach near Imperial Highway in Playa del Rey to aid in beach replenishment, said Walter Popoff, executive assistant with the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors.

The clean sand was placed between 500 and 1,300 feet offshore of Dockweiler in approximately 15-to-25-foot-deep water, where it will be gradually moved onshore by ocean currents to replenish Dockweiler and South Bay beaches, Popoff said.

The sand will also help provide a buffer zone for future storms, he said.

ìThe project went very smoothly,î Popoff said. ìThe equipment ran fairly quietly and the project was a success.î

David Sommers, spokesman for County Supervisor Don Knabe, agreed, saying the north entrance dredging project went as expected and was completed on time and within the budget.

ìThe whole thing went very smoothly with no major challenges or delays involved,î Sommers said. ìIt went pretty much as anticipated.î

County officials said the dredging project was needed because navigation through the Marina north entrance had become severely restricted and hazardous due to the buildup of sand around the north jetty.

Sand from beaches in Venice had swept southward and extended the current footprint into the Marina north entrance from the north jetty, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriffís Department Marina Station.

The last time the Marina was dredged before this project was between October 1999 and March 2000.

With the more than two-month dredging project successfully completed, county officials said they expect that mariners will be able to safely use the north entrance and that Marina law enforcement and emergency vessels should be unobstructed as they travel through the area for emergency responses.

ìBy restoring the entrance to its design depth of 20 feet, the project has made safe navigation a fact of life there,î Popoff said.

The American flag located on the Marina del Rey breakwater near the channel entrance was taken down during the dredging project due to lighting issues but was put back up once the project was finished.

Officials will next plan to conduct a dredging project for the south entrance of the Marina, Popoff said.