Groups to celebrate bay dredging project completion

NEWPORT BEACH — In the wake of the midterm elections, when most of the country has been talking about bipartisan divisions in the House and Senate, a Republican congressman and Democratic senator are coming together.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) and Rep. Ed Royce (R-California) will be in Newport Beach Saturday to celebrate the completion of the Upper Newport Bay Dredging, a $47-million public works project that required cooperation among politicians of different levels and colors.

With federal and local funding, the operators of tugboats, barges and cranes dredged day and night, eventually moving 2.35 million cubic yards of sediment that had been trapped in the Back Bay. They freed up two catch-basins that can now collect material before it reaches the harbor, and they restored moats to protect rare and endangered birds.

"It's a significant investment in the long-term quality of life for the area," said Leslie Daigle, the city councilwoman who represents portions of the east side of the Back Bay and was instrumental in coordinating the project. "Simply said, it's a very big deal."

The ribbon-cutting event, at the Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center in Newport Beach, will also feature Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach and officials from the various agencies involved: the city of Newport Beach, the Army Corps of Engineers, the California Department of Fish and Game and the Coastal Conservancy.

The event will be held at 10 a.m. at the Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center, 2301 University Drive. Seating is limited.

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