PORT HUENEME, Calif. – For one California beach city, every grain of sand counts.
Port Hueneme, home to a naval base and about 20,000 residents, is starved for sand because Congress has not allocated enough money to help repair the city's badly eroded beaches, according to the Ventura County Star.
The city is supposed to receive extra sand every two years through nearby dredging by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. But the most recent effort to pump 2.5 million cubic yards of sand — enough to bury 40 football fields almost 30 feet deep — wasn't done because of federal budget restraints.
"The solution to this problem is simple," said Mayor Ellis Green. "The federal government needs to fulfill its obligation and pump the sand that is now in the sand trap to our beaches."
The erosion problem is so bad that the ocean comes right up to a street on the west end of town, city officials said. The city's pier is about 6 feet below where it should be and could be damaged by powerful storms.
Last month, Gov. Jerry Brown signed two bills that would provide $2 million to help Port Hueneme fortify its beaches, but it's unclear if the funding will provide assistance this winter.
On Wednesday, a 4-pound bag of sand arrived at City Hall from Stockholm, Sweden, sent by a family who recently visited Port Hueneme. The family also posted a video online, hoping to inspire others to send sand.
Some city officials, however, were cautious the campaign might bring a granular avalanche.
"I sure hope this video doesn't go viral," the city's mayor pro tem, Jon Sharkey, told the newspaper. "I can just envision truckloads of sand coming up to City Hall."