Upper Newport Bay $39M Dredging Project in Danger

Sun February 17, 2008 - West Edition
CEG



NEWPORT, Calif. (AP) A dredging project to rid the Upper Newport Bay of sediment deposits is running into financial problems.

The removal of some 2.3 million cu. yd. (1.7 million cu m) of silt and mud began two years ago at a price tag of $39 million. But with the work barely half over, some officials worry a lack of funding could threaten the project.

The Army Corps of Engineers is leading the project, but is in talks with a private dredging company to possibly reduce the scope of the work in some regions.

Approximately $13.5 million of federal and state funds have been spent so far. City officials say only $13.7 million of the roughly $25 million promised by the federal government has been provided.

The Upper Newport Bay is the largest open-water estuary in Southern California and is a key stopover spot for birds on the Pacific Flyway.