Channel Islands Harbor
|Channel Islands Harbor|
|Type of harbor||Artificial|
|Size of harbor||166 acres|
Channel Islands Harbor is a combined shore-protection project and small craft harbor located at the southern end of the Santa Barbara Channel in the town of Oxnard, California. The US Army Corps of Engineers formed the harbor in 1960 by scooping out sand dunes and wetlands and depositing the surplus sand at the nearby beaches of Port Hueneme. The horse-shoe shaped harbor contains 166 acres (0.672 km2) of water surrounded by 126 acres (0.510 km2) of land and supports more than 2,500 vessels, four yacht clubs, and nine full-service marinas. It is a frequent point of departure for all five of the nearby Channel Islands, the closest of which is Anacapa Island. It has become the fifth largest harbor for small-craft recreation in the state of California and is a waterfront resort, recreation, and dining marketplace. Recreational activities include diving, boat charters, sea kayaking, sportfishing, and whale watching (gray whales January through early April; blue and humpback whales July to September). The Ventura County Maritime Museum is located within the harbor and offers a regularly rotating exhibit, maritime-themed art, and model ships. Every three years it is host to the Channel Islands Tall Ships Festival which includes between two and five large sailing vessels as well as thousands of visitors.
The harbor waters connect to the north with Mandalay Bay, a residential 129-unit waterfront development built by a company called Shamrock/ Voss, a joint venture of Shamrock Holdings Inc. of Burbank and Voss Construction Co. Inc. of Oxnard in 1987. The development is arranged in six tracts of single-family homes and townhouses standing on reinforced concrete bulkheads along a series of short navigable canal-like waterways. Between 1950 and 1981 Mandalay Bay was a permitted oil field waste disposal site which caused the release of numerous hazardous chemicals. The records of what was dumped were subsequently lost, resulting in calls for an investigation and millions of dollars in lawsuits from home buyers who were told the area was safe for habitation.
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