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Federal Aid for Flood Control, Harbor Expected

October 27, 1993|MARK BOUSIAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

WASHINGTON — Congress appears poised to approve a total of $7.28 million for several Ventura County flood control and navigation projects--including $4.8 million to make the entrance to Ventura Harbor safer by completing a breakwater expansion.

The funds are included in the massive energy and water development spending bill for the 1994 fiscal year that the House passed Tuesday. A House-Senate conference committee had previously approved the measure.

The bill contains funding for a variety of flood control and navigation projects requested by Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Simi Valley), including improvements for Calleguas and Santa Paula creeks, and the Port of Hueneme.

The Senate is expected to approve the final version of the legislation this week. It will then be sent to President Clinton for his signature.

The bulk of the funding will go to Ventura Harbor, which will receive $1.2 million for annual dredging and another $4.8 million to complete a breakwater expansion.

Funding for the project has been approved despite lobbying efforts by the Surfrider Foundation, a group of environmentally minded surfers who maintain that the project will cause beach erosion and destroy one of Southern California's top surfing areas.

Last year, Congress allocated $500,000 for construction on the project. This year's funding will cover the remaining cost.

The spending bill also provides $350,000 to continue a study begun last year on a proposal to deepen and widen the entrance to the Port of Hueneme. The project received $250,000 last year.

Another $645,000 is included to enable the Army Corps of Engineers to finish designing flood controls for Santa Paula Creek. The amount is $100,000 more than Gallegly had earlier requested.

In addition, the House approved $250,000 for a new study to prevent flooding of Calleguas Creek and protect Mugu Lagoon, which is downstream from the creek.

The project received $320,000 for the current fiscal year.

Gallegly reacted favorably to the bill's passage, saying that "overall we feel that we fared fairly well."

"Many of us have been working for these important and badly needed projects for many years," he said. "I am extremely pleased that the House approved the bill and provided funding for these vital projects despite severe budget constraints--and especially pleased that they survived the legislative fights over the superconducting collider."

The $11-billion atom smasher had earlier been included in the energy and water bill, causing significant delays in its passage. The controversial project was removed from the bill last week following a lopsided defeat in the House.

Gallegly voted for the supercollider. Rep. Anthony C. Beilenson (D-Woodland Hills), whose 24th District includes most of Thousand Oaks, opposed it.

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