Dredging the Newport Harbor and Jetty Repair
The City of Newport Beach is working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to reinforce the nearly century-old concrete-and-rock jetty on the eastern, or Corona del Mar, side of the harbor entrance and will scoop out enough accumulated sediment in the entrance channel to make the waterway 20 feet deep. The project will cost about $3 million.
Newport Harbor is one of the largest recreational harbors in the United States. Natural processes result in the movement and accumulation of sediment which must be dredged periodically to maintain channel depth for safe navigation. The Federal Channels are composed of the deeper Entrance Channel area, several sections of the Main Channel leading to the Turning Basin, and several shallower offshoots from the Main Channel. The Federal Channels are maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). USACE conducts annual bathymetric (depth) surveys to determine the amount of sediment that has accumulated in the Federal Channels and to assess the overall need for maintenance dredging. In total, about 1 million cubic yards of material requires dredging.
The work to repair chipped concrete is relatively easy but there’s a lot of it, covering a work area about 700 feet long and 12 feet wide with a 15-foot footing, from the base seaward. The large rocks armoring the breakwater will also be replenished, with stone trucked in from a quarry in Riverside County. The tremendous force of the ocean, especially when it churns during heavy winter storms, can knock the stones loose.
The entrance to Newport Harbor has been calmed by jetties since 1918, starting along the western side at the Wedge. The eastern jetty came along in the late 1920s to early 1930s, and both legs have been extended and repaired over the years, although the last documented repairs to the east side were in 1948.
In addition to the jetty maintenance, crews will remove about 70,000 cubic yards of sand from the entrance channel floor and deposit it back into open ocean just outside the surf zone near Balboa Pier, allowing it to naturally return directly to the beach.
The entrance channel dredge is separate of a larger, more complicated and much more expensive anticipated dredge of the main harbor that has been in the works for years. That big dig will remove 17 times more silt, mostly in the western area of the harbor, and could cost $20 million to $23 million.
Both of these projects were originally supposed to be completed before the summer rush begins on the July 4th 2021 weekend, however they are still working on it today.