Letter to the Editor: Dredging Newport Harbor Needs to be Done

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The city is considering plans for possibly digging a “big hole” in Newport Harbor to bury some dredged material.
— Photo by Sara Hall ©

Your Dec. 5 article [Residents Raise Concerns Over Harbor Dredging Project] regarding Newport Harbor dredging is an encouraging step forward for the continued viability of our most important environmental, cultural, and economic asset.

As the former Harbormaster and lifelong Newport Beach resident I believe on-going dredging is essential to preserve the health of the Harbor.

Newport is a man-made harbor and continually silts-up from tidal flows and upstream deposits from San Diego Creek.

Our Harbor Commission has been working through the labyrinth of federal, state, and local agencies to fashion a dredging plan that satisfies the complex regulatory requirements.

The old days of digging up the muck and dumping it on the beach are long gone.

It is estimated we need to remove 1.2 million cubic yards of muck to achieve the “design depth” of 20-feet in the main channel.

That’s approximately 7 ½ football fields of material, most of it will be dumped six miles offshore.

A key element will include digging a hole in the bay to bury a small amount of slightly degraded muck. It’s a solution that’s used in harbors around the nation.

The $20 million project will hopefully be funded by the Army Corps of Engineers, but we should prepare ourselves to assist with local funds.

Dredging creates a healthy harbor habitat for both sea life and humans.

Let’s all support the Harbor Commission and City Council’s work to get this project done.

Dennis Durgan
Former Newport Beach Harbormaster

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