Under pressure from city and county officials, several state agencies have allocated funds for a $5-million dredging project in the Upper Newport Bay.
The state Department of Boating and Waterways approved $2 million for the project on May 20. Two days later, the Senate Budget Committee on Resources recommended that the state allocate $2.9 million from the tidelands oil revenue fund to pay for part of the project.
In separate action two weeks earlier, the budget subcommittee created a separate fund, the wetlands restoration clearinghouse, to pay for future wetlands projects such as the Upper Newport Bay.
In the 10 years since the bay was last dredged, buildup of silt has created problems for wildlife and boaters, officials said.
Though the bay is in Newport Beach, it is owned by the state and is managed by the Department of Fish and Game. Local officials, however, have been the ones urging that the bay be dredged.
“This . . . action by the budget subcommittees moves us closer to accomplishing the city’s goal to securing the necessary funds to restore the upper bay to its natural beauty this year,” Mayor Janice A. Debay said.