Coastal Commission clears Rhine Channel dredging

The California Coastal Commission on Wednesday approved Newport Beach's Rhine Channel restoration project.

The commissioners gave the go-ahead to dredge 150,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment from the waterway near Cannery Village and dump it at the Port of Long Beach.

The approval is the latest step in the process to clean up waste from shipyards, canneries, boat-building and metal plating facilities that operated there for much of the past century. If the roughly $4 million to $4.5 million cleanup goes as planned, the city would start dredging in the early summer, Councilwoman Leslie Daigle said.

"We've cleared a necessary hurdle for the dredging of Newport Bay, the jewel of our community," Daigle said in a statement. "We appreciate the Coastal Commission recognizing the environmental benefits of this project."

The sediment contains elevated concentrations of metals, pesticides and other chemicals that are considered toxic for benthic organisms like sea stars and oysters.

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