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State Budget Funds Dredging of Upper Newport Bay

The Legislature has earmarked $2.9 million in its new budget for the dredging of Upper Newport Bay, city officials said this week.

City and county officials put the cost of restoring the bay at $5 million, but city officials say they are confident that they will get the additional funds to complete the project.

Assistant City Manager Peggy Ducey said the city will ask for money from the state’s wetlands restoration fund to make up the difference.

Upper Newport Bay was last dredged 10 years ago. Since then, a buildup of silt has created huge mud flats that are causing problems for boaters and are covering wildlife food sources.

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Though the bay is in Newport Beach, it is owned by the state and is managed by the Department of Fish and Game.

Officials from Newport Beach and Orange County have been behind the effort to have the bay dredged.

At Monday’s City Council meeting, Mayor Janice A. Debay announced that the state has come through with part of the money.

“It is a shining example of what goals can be reached by working together,” she said.

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If the state budget is approved by Gov. Pete Wilson, the dredging could begin by late summer.


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