Corona del Mar Today: A progress report on Buck Gully project

An erosion project in Lower Buck Gully is well underway as crews continue to place metal cages on the ground, filling them with rocks brought from a Corona quarry.

The project began last month and should be complete sometime next summer, city officials have said.

The work began with crews constructing a temporary road from the Little Corona beach path to the bottom of the gully. Then crews began to place the multi-layered cages, filling them with rocks that will divert water flow and protect the hills on Evening Canyon and Hazel Drive from collapse.

The project also will remove invasive plants and wildlife.

"Right now, it's like a total jungle," said Robert Stein, an assistant city engineer.

Some invasive plants have been removed, he said, including all but one clump of arundo.

"That's the most invasive plant in Buck Gully, and that's the last of it," Stein said, pointing to a patch near where a pile of rocks is stored.

Crews will complete the first of three cages before clearing more of the gully and moving about 100 feet inland to begin the next phase. Further upstream, they eventually will place five "bending weirs" that will control water flow. Construction is supposed to take about four months, with six months planned for reforestation including removing the road and replanting.

The rocks and cages eventually will be covered with vegetation, Stein said.

Plans for the project were in the works for more than a year. This summer, the California Coastal Commission granted approval of the project.


NBFD Conducts Badge Pinning Ceremony

Three Newport Beach Fire Department employees were honored this week at a badge-pinning ceremony.

Charlie Dall was promoted from fire engineer to fire captain; Brent Jacobsen was promoted from lifeguard captain to lifeguard battalion chief; and Rob Williams was promoted from lifeguard battalion chief to assistant chief-lifeguard operations.

"All three were on hand to celebrate their promotions with family, friends and co-workers," according to a department statement. "These men are to be commended on enduring all of the hurdles it takes to achieve these ranks."

Dall has worked for the Newport Beach Fire Department since 1995, when he was hired at age 15. Jacobsen began his career as a Newport Beach lifeguard in 1982, and Williams has worked for Newport Beach since 1985.


Begonia Park trees marked; no decision on removal

A dozen Carob trees in Begonia Park have been tagged with orange dots, but city officials said that no decisions about removing them have been made.

Neighbors said they were told that the trees were marked because of "extensive decay."

"The trees in Begonia Park are still being evaluated," said Tara Finnigan, a Newport Beach city spokeswoman. "Residents may see some trimming, above-ground work or, in some cases, more thorough evaluation work taking place. There have been no decisions made yet regarding any tree removals in the park."

On Monday morning, most of the orange marks had been painted over, but one tree was still marked with orange paint.

Crews last week removed 33 blue gum eucalyptus trees along Fourth Avenue in Corona del Mar. Those trees had been inspected and were considered at risk of falling.


Donors select location for fish tiles at CdMHS

Families who purchased shimmering fish tiles as part of an aquatics locker room fundraiser at Corona del Mar High School gathered last week to select their tiles' placement.

More than 100 fish tiles have been purchased, said Angela Kraus, a parent volunteer.

On Tuesday, families attended the event to help design placement of their tiles on the fish tile wall.

To date, about $750,000 has been raised for the new locker room building. A total of $1 million is needed for the project, which would replace dilapidated restrooms with 3,000 square feet of locker rooms.

The aquatic center was built in 1990 and has undergone other improvements over the years, Kraus said.

"A lot more money is needed to fund the new locker room building, so CCAFF (CdM Community Aquatics Facilities Foundation) strongly encourages the entire business and aquatics community to participate in the fundraising campaign," Kraus said.


Bicyclists plan advocacy ride

The Corona del Mar-based cycling advocacy group bikeNewportBeach has announced a second annual pre-Thanksgiving ride.

"This ride is a perfect way to spend the morning — without the roar of automobiles in your ears you'll have time to talk and relax as we peddle through Huntington Beach, Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, Santa Ana, Garden Grove, Orange and Anaheim," organizers said in an announcement. "You won't believe how quickly time passes as we take this bike highway into central Orange County."

"Last year's ride gave each of us an excuse to eat a little more," said Frank Peters, one of the bikeNewportBeach founders. "We were burning calories galore. Besides the exercise, the camaraderie of the group will warm you through and through, no matter what the weather."

Riders should meet at the Newport Pier at 8 a.m. Nov. 23. The ride is about 30 miles, round trip, and will end at the Newport Pier about 1 p.m.

The mostly flat route will take riders along the Santa Ana River Trail, which goes off-road all the way to Anaheim Stadium and the Honda Center. Peters said the route is peaceful and quiet enough to carry on conversations with other riders.

"I want to do this ride again to relive that experience," he said.

Organizers encourage cyclists to bring sunscreen and money for a snack.

For more information, visit the bikeNewportBeach website,

Twitter: @coronadelmartdy

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