Newport Bay restoration complete

The four-year, $50 million restoration of Upper Newport Bay is complete, according to a report published Friday evening.

By removing sediment caused by urban runoff and refurbishing islands, the project should safeguard "Southern California's largest estuary for decades to come," the Orange County Register reported.

The project was in danger because of a funding shortfall but $18 million in federal stimulus funding made it possible for crews to wrap up the project, which was initially expected to cost $40 million.

Newport Beach City Manager Dave Kiff credited the stimulus package.

"It's the reason it's done," he told the newspaper.

The 750-acre property is a natural habitat is popular with bird-watchers and serves as a natural habitat to many species.

"So much of the beauty that attracts us here, keeps us here, is the water that occupies almost every view and landscape. It is a life force that LIFTS us, our recreation, our economy, our sense of well-being," City Councilwoman Leslie Daigle said in an e-mail to the Daily Pilot.

"This significant regional project restored the natural estuarine vitality of the waters of the Upper Bay to support wildlife and fisheries and improve Flushing of the Lower Bay. The City appreciates the efforts of Supervisor John Moorlach and County staff, the lead agency and the steadfast support of the Orange County Congressional delegation."

—From staff reports

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