3 Chronologies of Inlet
This chapter provides a temporal and conceptual framework for the data lists
contained in Chapter 4. The chronologies are presented in two main categories,
engineering projects and studies. The chronologies of the engineering projects
describe the engineering projects that have occurred at the entrance and an
overview of the dredging quantities associated with the entrance and bar channel
maintenance. The chronologies for the studies attempt to list the key studies that
have been done that address the general physical oceanography of Humboldt
Bay, the inlet dynamics, and the behavior of the adjacent beaches and littoral cell.
History of Engineering Projects
Humboldt Bay as a port and navigation project has a relatively short history.
The major engineering projects at the entrance involve stabilization of the
entrance with jetties. The chronology is provided in Tables 1, 2, and 3:
a. Table 1. The period of discovery is remarkable for the long period of
time that the bay was undiscovered and covers the time of the first
European presence in the area, starting with the Spanish voyages to the
region in the late 18th century to the mid 19th century after California
became a state.
b. Table 2. The period of initial attempts to stabilize the inlet lasting from
the late 1800s until the early 1930s when initial attempts using the
prevailing technologies were inadequate.
c. Table 3. The period of repair and improvement that was attempted using
a more robust approach to jetty building lasting up to the 1970s.
In the late 1970s a fully engineered approach was undertaken by placing
massive artificial armour units (dolos) on the jetties. This project represents the
existing jetties, although periodic repair has always been required, continuing to
the present. Except for a brief time preceding the first projects, stabilization of
the entrance has involved twin jetties. A single jetty was proposed in 1883, but
this approach was quickly abandoned in favor of twin jetties, with plans
approved in 1888.
Chapter 3 Chronologies of Inlet Development