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By Roger Bloom | NB Induy


Saturday morning at the Muth Interpretive Center, national and local notables will gather to cut a ribbon and mark the long-awaited completion of the Back Bay dredging project.

The 10-year, $47 million project moved 2.3 million cubic yards of sediment to preserve tidal flow, prevent sedimentation of the Lower Bay and Newport Harbor and restore one of the last remaining wetlands along the Southern California coast.

“This is a very big deal for Newport Beach,” said Councilmember Leslie Daigle.

The project was led by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and primarily funded by the federal government, with participation by the state, the county, the city and the Coastal Conservancy.

The project involved extensive dredging of sediment to maintain two major in-bay sediment retention basins (near Jamboree Road and near the Salt Dike). The basins keep some sediment from reaching the remainder of the Upper Bay and the Lower Bay.

Much of the dredging expanded existing channels that surround various islands in the Upper Bay, including Middle Island.

It was based on the Upper Newport Bay Ecosystem Restoration Feasibility Report, a Corps-produced document that was circulated to the public and went through environmental review in 2000.

The completion of the project means maintenance dredging will not be needed for at least 20 years.

On hand for the ribbon cutting, set for 10 a.m. Saturday at the Muth Center overlooking the Back Bay, will be Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Ed Royce, who were instrumental in securing federal funding; Colonel R. Mark Toy, commander and Los Angeles District engineer for the Corps of Engineers; Joan Cardellino of the California Coastal Conservancy; Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach; Newport Beach Mayor Keith Curry; Daigle; and Theresa Stewart of the California Department of Fish and Game.


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