Upper Newport Bay Ecological Restoration, Final Design

Location: Orange County

Project Type: Restoration Planning

Status: Completed

Habitat Type: tidal wetlands

Cost: $53,300,000

Area Affected: 1,000 acres

Assembly District: 74

Senate District: 37

Congressional District: 48

Project Lead/Grantee:
County of Orange (Marilyn Thoms 714-955-0610)

This project prepared final design and engineering plans for an ecological restoration project that will dredge 2.1 million cubic yards of sediment from Upper Newport Bay.

The project addressed the impacts of habitat conversion resulting from sedimentation in the upper bay by dredging 2.1 million cubic yards of sediment and enhancing salt marsh and mudflat habitats around the bay. The project plans also included an ongoing maintenance dredging program that will be undertaken approximately every 21 years. These ecosystem enhancements include dredging channels to promote tidal circulation and limit predator access to sensitive areas, expanding mudflat habitat in several locations to compensate for mudflats lost to dredging and creating wetlands and California Least Tern nesting islands.

Upper Newport Bay is the largest open-water estuary in Southern California and one of the last remaining coastal wetlands in Southern California. Implementation of the Upper Newport Bay Ecological Restoration Project will increase the quantity and quality of wetlands habitat which supports numerous federally endangered species, provide critical feeding and resting habitat for migratory waterfowl and shorebirds along the Pacific Flyway, and provide a nursery for anadromous fish and other aquatic species.