As Vallejo ferry passengers know, extreme low tides over the last three months have forced some temporary schedule adjustments on that route.
Why did this happen in 2021? And what is WETA doing about it?
The issue is that silt build-up in Mare Island Strait is accelerating. Previously, WETA was on a 4-year dredge cycle at the Vallejo Ferry Terminal. Over the years as silt built up more quickly, the dredge cycle shifted to once every three years. WETA last dredged in October 2018, and by April of this year staff noticed issues so serious that the schedule would need to be adjusted to avoid getting boats stuck in the lowest tides of May, June and July.
The good news is that WETA will dredge the terminal area in August. That type of underwater work is not permitted before August 1, which caused us to make additional use of the Mare Island Ferry Terminal during the low tide episodes. Our staff and its contractors have spent recent months getting everything in place to prevent future service disruptions.
Given accelerating silt build-up, WETA plans to move to a 2-year dredge cycle going forward and is exploring options for a future terminal redesign to further reduce the impacts of low tides on ferry service and extend the dredge cycle.