Huntington Beach council members have gotten a glimpse of what it would take to dredge a portion of the channels in Huntington Harbour and whether the city could partner with the county to reduce costs.

During a study session March 3, city engineer Tom Herbel put the cost of the project —

aimed at ensuring that vessels do not run aground while navigating the man-made harbor — at about $2 million.

However, he added that city staff has yet to identify whether the work even needs to be done.

He and Public Works Director Travis Hopkins said they have not received complaints from boaters about their boats hitting the bottom of the harbor.

The city's portion of the harbor, which was dug in the 1960s, has never been dredged, but the public works department will continue to determine if such an action is necessary, Herbel said.

The wide, main channel — which is maintained by the county — was dredged about a decade ago.

Mayor Matthew Harper asked whether harbor conditions have worsened over time.

"Some of the areas that were bad then are good now," the city engineer responded in reference to a study done in 2000. "So what it told me is Mother Nature is not very linear, so as stuff moves around the harbor, things clear out and get deposited here and move over here.... It's very fluid and nothing is consistent."

The county is currently working to obtain permits to dredge the main channel, which runs approximately from Peter's Landing Marina to the Warner Avenue bridge. The main channel is the widest and more than 10 feet deep. The surrounding city channels range in depth from 5 feet to greater than 10 feet.

The county plans to dredge the main channel in January 2015, and the city hopes to dovetail its work in order to reduce expenses.

Herbel said the city staff is talking with county officials to possibly piggyback on its project in specific areas of the harbor where the jurisdictions of both agencies are next to one another.

"If they're going to be out there with the big dredge equipment, maybe we can get a little bit of benefit out of it by the economies of scale," he said.

If the city decides to dredge the harbor, Herbel said, most of the material could be deposited back into the ocean, specifically at a dumping site off the Palos Verdes Peninsula.

Hazardous sediment would be placed in a landfill made for such waste, he added.