California Coastal Commission – SUMMARY OF STAFF RECOMMENDATION

Coastal Commission staff‘s reasons for recommending approval of the City of Newport Beach
Item 17a – Application No. 5-21-0640

Commission staff recommends that the Commission APPROVE Coastal Development Permit application 5-21-0640 as conditioned (Staff Report page 6).


Reason for Approval  

The proposed Newport Beach disposal site for the clean sand is the least damaging feasible alternative and the proposed CAD facility is the least damaging feasible alternative for disposal of contaminated sediments (Staff Report page 3).


Reason for Approval  

The project is consistent with the allowable use, alternatives, and mitigation tests contained in Coastal Act Section 30233 (Staff Report page 3).


Reason for Approval  

The contaminated sediments proposed for dredging and disposal in the proposed CAD facility would remain permanently isolated in the CAD facility and the project would not adversely affect water quality and marine resources of Newport Harbor and the adjacent waters of the coastal zone. The project, as conditioned, would be consistent with the marine resources and water quality policies of the California Coastal Act Sections 30230, 30231, 30232 (Staff Report page 3).


Reason for Approval 

The project would also significantly improve public access and recreational opportunities due to the placement of approximately 282,400 cy of clean and grain-size compatible sand along a stretch of eroding beach immediately upcoast of the Newport Harbor entrance. The project is consistent with the public access, recreation, and sand supply policies of the California Coastal Act (Staff Report page 3).


Reason for Approval 

The City’s Sediment Management Plan, which was developed to manage all of the different types of sediment within the harbor was fully vetted through the DMMT process, and it provides details on unsuitable material quantities, and therefore, Commission staff believes that it adequately supports the design of the proposed project (Staff Report page 4).


Reason for Approval 

The long-term water quality improvement of sequestering contaminated sediment will result in a net reduction in contaminated sediment that is currently located at various depths within the harbor (Staff Report page 5).


Reason for Approval 

The project construction would actually result in an increase of the available area for boats to pass through compared to existing conditions with an occupied anchorage in place (Staff Report page 6).


Reason for Approval 

This project is an allowable use pursuant to Section 30233(a)(2), -(4), and -(6), as components of the project achieve numerous goals for the overall functionality of Newport Harbor (Staff Report page 22).


Reason for Approval 

The Commission finds that the proposed dredging and fill associated with the proposed project is associated with allowable uses and is the least environmentally-damaging feasible alternative for disposal of Lower Newport Harbor contaminated sediments, which includes feasible mitigation measures. Environmental and human health risk assessment of the CAD cell alternative has shown that it can provide one of the lowest risk options compared with other alternatives because relative to upland disposal, there is less rehandling of the material and fewer contaminant transfer pathways because upland disposal can result in greater dermal contact, volatile emissions (Greenhouse gas emissions from truck or train trips) and groundwater pathways (Staff Report page 24).


Reason for Approval 

The proposed project includes the following characteristics which supported the Navy, USACE, and Oxnard Harbor District’s consideration of CAD technology to remedy the current sediment contamination problems in Lower Newport Harbor:

    • Moderate levels of contaminants in harbor sediments
    • CAD design provides a low risk of failure either by fluid migration or physical exposure
    • Sediments primarily contain contaminants from past practices that are not expected to re-contaminate the harbor
    • CAD developers (USACE and the City of Newport Beach) are committed to a maintenance and monitoring plan that would ensure that the contaminants remain isolated in the CAD facility
    • CAD location ensures that it can be adequately maintained by the CAD developers (Staff Report page 26).

Reason for Approval 

Construction of the CAD in lower Newport Harbor and deposition of beach quality sand in nearshore waters just west of the Newport Harbor mouth is not expected to cause significant adverse impacts to non-listed or sensitive bird species that nest, roost, and forage in the area (Staff Report page 34).


Reason for Approval 

Eelgrass impacts are not anticipated to occur as a result of the proposed project (Staff Report page 34).


Reason for Approval 

The project is not expected to cause a significant adverse impact to populations of these marine invertebrate species (Staff Report page 34).


Reason for Approval 

Therefore, as conditioned for revised plans limiting the locations for sand disposal to avoid contiguous sand dollar beds as shown in Exhibit 5, in addition to avoiding nighttime sand deposition to avoid potential negative impacts to grunion, Commission staff finds the project consistent with Sections 30230 and 30231 of the Coastal Act (Staff Report page 36).


Reason for Approval 

In other words, the existing water quality of Newport Bay is already negatively affected by the presence of DDx compounds and is not predicted to appreciably change as a result of the proposed placement of DDx containing sediments into the CAD. Further, by collecting, concentrating and burying contaminant laden sediments below a clean cap within the proposed CAD that are currently dispersed across Newport Bay, the proposed project may result in water quality improvements (Staff Report page 38).


Reason for Approval 

As conditioned, Commission staff has determined that the removal, placement, and permanent containment of DDT-contaminated Lower Newport Bay sediments at the proposed CAD facility would not adversely affect water quality over the short term and may ultimately help enhance water quality within the Bay (Staff Report page 38).


Reason for Approval 

The Commission finds that the proposed project as conditioned would transfer sands currently isolated in Newport Harbor back into the littoral system off Newport Beach via nearshore placement, and is therefore consistent with the Section 30233(b) sand supply policy of the Coastal Act (Staff Report page 42).


Reason for Approval 

The additional sand that would be placed as part of the project is expected to contribute to efforts to minimize the hazards of flooding from high tides and waves experienced on the ocean beaches of Newport Beach (Staff Report page 44).


Reason for Approval 

The proposed project conforms with the Coastal Act policies which protect and encourage public access and recreational use of coastal areas. The proposed project would mitigate beach erosion and provide for the continuing and increased recreational use of the City beach by the public by increasing the size of the ocean beaches and would provide a larger area for recreational use. In addition, the proposed dredging components of the project would allow for continued use of coastal waters for recreational boating because the existing anchorage in the proposed CAD project area will be temporarily relocated to the Turning Basin (Staff Report pages 45-46).


Reason for Approval 

The proposed beach replenishment would maintain and improve recreational use of State Tidelands. Sand replenishment around public beaches is consistent with the City’s Tidelands grant (Staff Report pages 46).


Reason for Approval 

As conditioned, the Commission finds that with these measures, the proposed project would not adversely affect visual resources of the coastal zone, and therefore, the project is consistent with the policies of the Coastal Act (Staff Report pages 47).


Reason for Approval 

The majority of communities adjacent to the proposed CAD site (except for downtown Costa Mesa), on the other hand have low overall CalEnviroScreen scores. Additionally, areas nearby with higher pollution burden scores that are above 60% in the northern part of Newport Beach would not be affected by the proposed project or any of the alternatives. Therefore, the proposed project of keeping the contaminated sediment in the harbor near the source(s) of contamination does not result in environmental justice impacts compared to the project alternatives, which would relocate contaminated sediments to communities of concern in other regions and require transport of sediments through additional communities of concern. In addition, as conditioned, the project would minimize adverse environmental impacts that may occur locally (Staff Report pages 50).


Reason for Approval 

The Commission finds that the project, as conditioned, is consistent with Coastal Act requirements and will not cause new adverse impacts to the environment. Feasible mitigation measures which will minimize all adverse environmental impacts have been required. Therefore, the Commission finds that the proposed project, as conditioned, complies with the applicable requirements of the Coastal Act to conform to CEQA (Staff Report pages 51).


IMPORTANT NOTICE

The California Coastal Commission is meeting on the final approval of this project October 14, 2022.

Email correspondence will be distributed to the Commission before the hearing on this item if it is received by 5 pm on Friday, October 7, 2022 before the hearing. If it is received after that time, then it will not be distributed to the Commission.

Please send your support in email to:

So********@co*****.gov

Subject Line: I support the CAD & Dredging Project in Newport Beach
Item 17a – Application No. 5-21-0640

The Coastal Commission website is www.coastal.ca.gov.
Application No. 5-21-0640.

Thank you for your support!

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