A contractor for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began removing sediment along the channels in the Santa Ana River Marsh this week, city officials said in a news release.
The project, which will restore design channel depths to improve circulation and tidal flushing needed to maintain the salt marsh habitat which includes many endangered species, is expected to be completed by the end of March.
The project also includes beach sand replenishment. According to the city, "good quality" sand will be pumped through a pipeline to the nearshore, located 1,000 feet offshore from 60th Street. But sediment not compatible for beach replenishment will be disposed of at an upland landfill.
A temporary pipeline runs from the Marsh parallel to the Santa Ana River, then down along the beach and through the surf zone to the approved nearshore disposal location.
The sand pumping began Monday and is expected to continue for about two weeks. The temporary pipe is expected to be removed during the week of Feb. 25.
City officials say the California least tern island within the Santa Ana River Marsh will also be cleared of weedy vegetation to help improve the nesting habitat of this endangered species.
The 92-acre salt marsh restoration is located near the mouth of the Santa Ana River in Newport Beach, just upstream of Pacific Coast Highway and east of the Greenville-Banning Channel levee.