Turning Basin Dredging & Dock Restoration

Good news - the City of Petaluma has funded a project to dredge and repair docks in the Turning Basin. Phase 1 of the project will start October 3, 2022, and is expected to end October 18, 2022. This part of the project will include:

  • Dredging of select areas in the Turning Basin that were not dredged by the US Army Corps of Engineers in 2020
  • Removal and reinstallation of the Petaluma Small Craft Center dock and gangway
  • Removal and reinstallation of the City Dock on the West side of the Turning Basin
  • Removal of the City Dock on the East Side of the Turning Basin (this dock will be replaced in 2023)

Expect Traffic Delays on D Street

To accommodate the dredging vessels, the project will require closure of the D Street Bridge on weekdays October 3-7, October 10-14, and October 17-18. This closure affects vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians, as the Bridge will stay in the raised position 24 hours/day during the closure dates. The Bridge will be open to vehicle traffic on weekends. Traffic will be rerouted to cross the river at Washington via Petaluma Blvd North (West side traffic) or Lakeville (East side traffic). Public transit will be rerouted and may experience delays. Go to https://transit.cityofpetaluma.net/ for transit information. Commercial trucks must use Highway 101 to comply with the City's trucking ordinance.

More Info

Click HERE to read the Staff Report on this project or view the FAQs below for more information. We appreciate your patience during this part of our dredging journey!

Project Manager

Erica Jacobs, MPA
[email protected]
707-787-0893

Project Hours of Operation & Timeline

The dredging crews will be working from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, from October 3 through October 18.

Update on Dredging Status of Marina

The City is working to get the required permits and identify the needed funds to dredge the Marina. Stay tuned.

Turning Basin Access

To ensure safe and efficient dredging operations, the Turning Basin will be closed September 26 through October 18. The Petaluma Small Craft Center Dock and the City Dock on the West side of the Turning Basin will be removed on October 3 and reinstalled by October 18. The City Dock on the East side of the Turning Basin will be removed on October 3, 2022, and demolished as part of this project. It will be replaced by a safer dock in a project tentatively scheduled for Fall of 2023.

Turning Basin Dredging Project

Turning Basin Dredging & Dock Restoration FAQ's

Excessive silt in the Turning Basin has made it difficult, and sometimes impossible, for larger boats to sail or motor into this area of the River, whether as part of a day’s excursion for shopping and lunch in Petaluma or as part of one of the many water-based events such as the Holiday Lighted Boat Parade.

The silt buildup has also caused problems for those wanting to launch kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, and other small watercraft from the docks adjacent to the River Plaza shopping Center. The docks and their associated pilings desperately need to be renovated, but that can’t happen with high silt levels.

A local, river-based nonprofit – Petaluma Small Craft Center (PSCC)– is particularly eager for the dredging to take place.  PSCC has a long-term lease with the City for one of the docks, where they plan to build a boathouse, hold events, and offer improved access to the river.  

This project will do the dredging necessary to improve watercraft access to the entire Turning Basin as well as provide better clearance for using the City’s docks. The project also sets the stage for replacement of the existing Eastside City dock, along Weller Street, with a new, safer dock and pilings.

For more information on the Turning Basin Dredging & Dock Restoration (2022), CLICK HERE.

The USACE dredged some parts of the Turning Basin in 2020. The areas in the proposed 2022 project were not dredged for the following reasons: 

  • Timing – complete dredging of the Turning Basin could not happen within the short environmental window required by the US Fish & Wildlife permit.
  • Permitting – the planned USACE near the docks triggered other permits requiring additional surveys, analysis, and processing.
  • Logistics – the 2022 dredging was a major project involving federal, state, and local agencies, as well as utilities. Logistical challenges prevented the USACE, who managed the project, from dredging the entire Turning Basin.

For more information on the Turning Basin Dredging & Dock Restoration (2022), CLICK HERE.

The project will start October 3 and is expected to end by October 18, 2022. In the event of a delay, the contractor has until November 30, 2022, to complete the project, per the permitted environmental window.

For more information on the Turning Basin Dredging & Dock Restoration (2022), CLICK HERE.

The dredging and docks project will have the following impacts: 

D Street Bridge Closure – Expect Traffic Delays & Detours
The D Street Bridge will be closed to cars, bikes, and pedestrians (all traffic) Monday – Friday, October 3-October 18. The Bridge will be reopened Saturday-Sunday, October 8-9 and October 15-16.

The bridge closure will require all traffic to cross the river at Washington Street.  Trucks will need to detour through Petaluma Blvd. South using the 101 freeway to cross the river while avoiding the downtown.  

Golden Gate and Petaluma Transit will be rerouted during this time to avoid the D Street bridge. For more info on the transit routes, visit transit.cityofpetaluma.net/. 

No Watercraft Access to the Turning Basin During this Project
For safety reasons, access to the Turning Basin will be closed to the public from September 26 through October 18. Boats & personal watercraft – kayaks, paddleboards, canoes, etc. — will not be allowed in the Petaluma River between the D Street Bridge and the Balshaw pedestrian bridge.

No Access to Petaluma Small Craft Center Dock & City Docks (West Side)
The Petaluma Small Craft Center Floathouse and City dock on the West side of the Turning Basin will be removed on October 3, 2022, and reinstalled no later than October 18, 2022.

No Access to East Side City Dock & Gangway
The City  dock and gangway on the East Side of the Turning Basin will be removed on October 3, 2022, and will not be replaced for approximately 13 months, in November 2023. The footpath connecting the City dock to the shoreline along Weller Street (Cavanagh Landing) will be closed during that time.

Noise
Dredging can be noisy work. Those who live and/or work adjacent to the Turning Basin should be prepared to hear noise similar to heavy construction work Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. There also might be noise throughout the day as barges travel back and forth from the work site to the disposal site in San Pablo Bay (SF-10). 

 

For more information on the Turning Basin Dredging & Dock Restoration (2022), CLICK HERE.

The D Street Bridge must be raised to accommodate barges as they move sediment from the Turning Basin to a permitted site in San Pablo Bay. Frequent raising/lowering of the bridge would strain the bridge’s electrical/mechanical system. Keeping the Bridge raised will help us avoid a system overload and possible long term bridge shutdown. In our effort to dredge the Turning Basin, let’s not break the Bridge!

For more information on the Turning Basin Dredging & Dock Restoration (2022), CLICK HERE.

Dredging will take place within the Petaluma River Turning Basin, which encompasses the area between the D Street Bridge and the Balshaw Bridge (see map for details).

For more information on the Turning Basin Dredging & Dock Restoration (2022), CLICK HERE.

The current contract for the dredging of the Turning Basin entails the following items: 

  • The removal, demolition, and disposal of the City docks on the east side of the Turning Basin, to allow for dredging. New float docks will be installed as part of a separate contract in 2023.
  • The removal, protection, and reinstallation of the Petaluma Small Craft Center Floathouse and the City’s west side Turning Basin docks designated for reinstallation. These designated sections of docks will be reinstalled immediately following the dredging in November 2022.
  • The removal and storage of the East (Weller Street) gangway.
  • The removal and reinstallation of the West gangway.
  • The installation of any and all temporary barriers to close off the gangway landings.
  • The dredging of the Petaluma Turning Basin to a design depth of minus 8.0 feet (-8.0 MLLW).

For more information on the Turning Basin Dredging & Dock Restoration (2022), CLICK HERE.

The City of Petaluma is responsible for funding and managing this dredging project. The project went out for bid in mid-August, and the contract was awarded to Lind Marine at the September 19, 2022, City Council meeting. Read Staff Report Here.

For more information on the Turning Basin Dredging & Dock Restoration (2022), CLICK HERE.

Excessive silt in the Turning Basin has made it difficult, and sometimes impossible, for larger boats to sail or motor into this area of the River, whether as part of a day’s excursion for shopping and lunch in Petaluma or as part of one of the many water-based events such as the Holiday Lighted Boat Parade.

The silt buildup has also caused problems for those wanting to launch kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, and other small watercraft from the docks adjacent to the River Plaza shopping center. The docks and their associated pilings desperately need to be renovated, but that can’t happen with high silt levels.

A local, river-based nonprofit – Petaluma Small Craft Center (PSCC)– is particularly eager for the dredging to take place so that its boat rental center, The Floathouse, can operate safely at any tide, providing year round river access to all. Once the Turning Basin is dredged, they can move ahead with their plans. 

Removing silt will deepen the Turning Basin waters, providing habitat for a wider variety of fish and birds while providing better flood protection. That makes dredging a boon not only for boaters, but also for anglers, wildlife enthusiasts, riverfront businesses, and anyone who enjoys the river view.

Dredging means better recreation opportunities for more people, a revitalized riverfront economy and experience, and a riverfront area that’s better protected from rising sea levels and flooding.

For more information on the Turning Basin Dredging & Dock Restoration (2022), CLICK HERE.

This project is following strict Fish & Wildlife protocols and other measures to protect the environment.

Project Timing & Deadlines
The US Fish & Wildlife Agency will issue a permit for this project, with the condition that the project be completed during a certain time of year and within a certain time frame.

Safe Silt Disposal
Dredged material will be disposed of at a designated disposal site in the Bay.

For more information on the Turning Basin Dredging & Dock Restoration (2022), CLICK HERE.

120×40 Barge – The Sonnee Delight
The proposed dredging contractor will use a 120x40 ft excavator barge—the Sonnee Delight — to do the float dismantling and dredging. The Sonnee Delight is up-fit with a material handler configured for up to -52 feet of excavation. The crane cycles a 5 cubic yard level-cut digging bucket.

Turning Basin FAQ IMAGE 1

4-5 Scows
Once lifted from the water, the dredged material will be loaded onto a smaller barge called a scow. The proposed contractor will use 4 to 5 scows in this project.

Fun fact: From the late 1800’s through the 1920’s scow schooners connected Petaluma and San Francisco by hauling cargo up and down the river.

2 Tug Boats
A mini truckable tug will be shifting the barges in the upper reaches of the Turning Basin and River. A slightly larger tug will shuttle the barges from the project site to the disposal site in the San Pablo Bay.

For more information on the Turning Basin Dredging & Dock Restoration (2022), CLICK HERE.

The Marina
Per Council direction, the City is setting aside $700K a year to address dredging and dock issues in the Marina and Turning Basin. The City is hoping to dredge around the Marina in 2023. Stay tuned for more news about this dredging project.

Yacht Club Docks
The area around the City docks on the southwest side of the Turning Basin – known by locals as the Yacht Club docks – will be dredged as part of the project to rehabilitate the Trestle. The Trestle project is currently in planning stages.

Maintenance Dredging along the Petaluma River
The City and the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) have an agreement for maintenance dredging every four years, if necessary.

For more information on the Turning Basin Dredging & Dock Restoration (2022), CLICK HERE.

The proposed contractor estimates that 5 to 7 round trips will be made per day during the first 5 days of the operations. During the second week, this number will taper down to 3 to 4 round trips per day.

For more information on the Turning Basin Dredging & Dock Restoration (2022), CLICK HERE.

The proposed dredging depth is 8 feet below Mean Lower Low Water (-8’ MLLW) plus a one-foot over dredge allowance in the Turning Basin. Approximately 18,605 cubic yards (cy) of material would need to be dredged to reach this depth.

For more information on the Turning Basin Dredging & Dock Restoration (2022), CLICK HERE.

The Yacht Club docks will not be dredged during this project. The City plans to dredge that area near the Yacht Club Docks as part of the project to rehabilitate the Trestle. The Trestle project is currently in initial planning stages.

For more information on the Turning Basin Dredging & Dock Restoration (2022), CLICK HERE.

The City docks at the southwest side of the Turning Basin, along the trestle, will not be removed or replaced during this project. The City is aware of the issues with these docks and plans to address those issues as part of the future Trestle Rehabilitation project.

The decision not to include the trestle-side docks was based on funding and timing: there is limited budget and a limited environmental window to undertake these projects each year. Per Council direction, the City is setting aside $700K a year to address dredging and dock issues in the Marina and Turning Basin. Dredging the areas missed in the 2020 and repairing the City Docks on the Northeast/Northwest side of the Turning Basin was prioritized by Council for 2022.

For more information on the Turning Basin Dredging & Dock Restoration (2022), CLICK HERE.

The proposed contractor employs seasoned tug boat captains who navigate along the Petaluma River on a regular basis. The contractor is relying on this experience, as well as recent analysis, to ensure the operation is safe. Surveys done by the proposed contractor within 60 days of the start of this project estimate a “cushion” of 2 ft of tire width on port and starboard sides between the largest barge (the Sonnee Delight) and the Foundry Wharf docks.

For more information on the Turning Basin Dredging & Dock Restoration (2022), CLICK HERE.

Access to the Turning Basin—the area of the River between the D Street Bridge and the Balshaw pedestrian Bridge—is restricted to vessels associated with the dredging operation and public safety vessels.

Access to the stretch of the Petaluma River south of the D Street Bridge to San Pablo Bay will not be restricted during this project.

Safety on any waterway is a shared responsibility. During this dredging operation, there will be more activity on the Petaluma River than usual, with tugboats and barges traveling from the Turning Basin into the San Pablo Bay (and back!) up to 5-7 times per day Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

To ensure safety, the professional, licensed tugboat captains involved in this operation will adhere to stay at a 5 miles per hour speed except when a slightly higher speed is necessary to maneuver. The tugboat captains will sound a “slow bell” when approaching smaller watercraft, as an extra measure of caution.

Kayakers, rowers, stand-up-paddle boarders, and boaters have more ability to maneuver and need to give these larger vessels a wide berth. Outreach by the City to local groups that use the River—the North Bay Rowing Club, Yacht Club, etc. — will help to ensure those who regularly use the River will take extra precautions during the project’s two-week period.

For more information on the Turning Basin Dredging & Dock Restoration (2022), CLICK HERE.

With our limited environmental window and tight budget, we will be taking extra precautions to ensure the project timeline stays on track.

Restricting access to the Turning Basin starting September 26 will help the City avoid potential damage or delays caused by larger sailboats and motorboats traveling or mooring in or near the project site within a week of the project start date.

For more information on the Turning Basin Dredging & Dock Restoration (2022), CLICK HERE.

The noise and construction window for the dredging operations will occur between 7 am and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.

For more information about the Turning Basin dredging project, please go to cityofpetaluma.org/turningbasin.

Part of the daily dredging work involves up to six barges making multiple trips from the Turning Basin to the disposal site in San Pablo Bay. The D Street Bridge would need to be in the “raised” position for a barge to pass through.

Unfortunately, the Bridge’s electrical system cannot support consecutive raising/lowerings, on any given day or for multiple consecutive days. The project team evaluated several options: limit the raising/lowering to two or three times per day, which would lessen the impact on vehicle traffic but extend the project several weeks; keep the bridge raised 24×7 for two weeks, which would allow the dredging operators to work Saturdays and shorten the project timeline but create greater inconvenience to the community; or keep the bridge raised on weekdays and then lower it on weekends, which would extend the project by a few days and would lessen the impact on traffic during the busy weekend.

The decision was made to raise the bridge at the beginning of each work week during the project (Sunday evening/early Monday morning) and then lower it at the end of each work week (approximately 7:00 p.m. Friday), keeping it lowered — and thus open to traffic – Friday evening through Sunday evening. This approach will streamline the dredging and shorten the total project duration, reduce the risk of the D-Street bridge malfunctioning caused by frequent opening and closings, avoid confusion, and minimize costs associated with closing the bridge every night and opening it every morning.

For more information on the Turning Basin Dredging & Dock Restoration (2022), CLICK HERE.

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