The transient float is complete, providing 980 feet of additional moorage to the Sitka harbor system. The float, located off Thomsen Harbor just north of the Harbor office, also acts as a protective breakwater. The $5.8 million project was funded partially with a matching state grant.

Harbormaster Stan Eliason said he was pleased with the completed facility, already in use. “It will serve Sitka well,” he said.

A complete refurbishing of Crescent Harbor is the next project to be addressed, according to the Harbor Master Plan. Costs are pegged at $13.5 million and Eliason said he would welcome a matching grant, like the one Sitka obtained for the transient float. The project scores high on state priority lists, but receiving state funds these days is uncertain. Eliason said he will be resubmitting the grant application and hopes for the best. Otherwise, the city would have to pay for that project itself.

“One plan would be to reduce the size of the harbor’s footprint, such as by removing some underused skiff stalls,” he said. “That would make the harbor less expensive to build.”

On another topic, a sea lion has taken up residence in the Sitka Channel and has prompted warnings from federal officials. They say mariners should avoid feeding sea lions in the harbor, deliberately or accidentally.  Feeding sea lions is against the law.

Feeding sea lions habituates them to that area and also makes them lose their natural wariness of humans. Sea lions may destroy fishing gear or be killed by entanglement or by swallowing a hook. These large animals may also become aggressive.

Eliason asked that fishermen using the cleaning tables put their scraps in the bins or haul the scraps away, rather than throw them in the water.