Newport Beach Harbor Commission adds deep-water dredging to objectives

Pairings terminated between members of the Harbor Commission and City Council.

NEWPORT BEACH ― The Newport Beach Harbor Commission expanded one of their objectives to ensure the welfare of Newport Harbor and addressed a request to abolish a practice in place for years at their Aug. 9 meeting.

The commission added deep-water dredging in addition to shallow-water dredging to their goal of supporting harbor resources staff. The commission also abolished the practice of pairing of its officers with Newport Beach City Council members.


Waterfront property owners in Newport Beach apply for permits – Regional General Permit-54, or RGP-54 – to allow a certain amount of impact to eelgrass for dredging purposes. This unique process provides the city with the ability to manage its own dredging projects. One of the harbor commission’s goals supports harbor resources staff in getting the information out there about RGP-54.

The Harbor Commission added to the existing goal to include supporting staff with deep-water dredging.

“The Harbor Commission acted to amend [an objective] to include supporting staff in identifying feasible solutions to permit and dredge the deep water channels,” Harbor Commission Chair William “Bill” Kenney informed The Log. “In other words, the Harbor Commission will work with staff, and likely with Councilmembers, in identifying ways to dredge the deep water channels on a continuous basis, instead of waiting until navigation becomes an issue and then pursuing State and Federal agencies like the Army Corps of Engineers, to get the channels dredged.”

Dredging is a necessary element of maintaining the harbor to ensure boats can easily navigate through the channels.

“I believe that pursuing dredging on a regular basis will be both cost effective and less burdensome to the boating community and other harbor users,” Kenney continued.

Abolished Pairings

The Harbor Commission agreed to eliminate the practice of pairing a harbor commissioner with a city council member.

“The Harbor Commission, at the recommendation of the city manager, voted to terminate the practice of formally pairing Commissioners with city council members,” Kenney confirmed.

Commissioners approved the request once they had a better understanding as to the reasons for the recommendation.

No other boards or commissions had such a practice, so the city manager made this recommendation to make it uniform across the board.

“It is my understanding that the Harbor Commission was the only board or commission that had established the formal relationship,” Kenney stated.

The practice of pairing possibly hindered rather than encouraged interactions and exchange of information.

“The formal pairing probably limited communication among the commissioners and council members because a commissioner may have been hesitant to contact a council member because another commissioner had the formal relationship,” Kenney said. “As the city manager stated, now any commissioner can informally make contact with any council member.”

Commissioners were original opposed to ending the practice of being paired with city council members, balking at the city staff proposal in July.

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