The Trashy Side of Newport Beach

Source: The Trashy Side of Newport Beach

In some ways, on some days, we all live trashy lives.

Even an inadvertently dropped gum wrapper via the forces of gravity, wind, and water runoff finds itself in company with all manner of discarded detritus heading to our oceans and beaches.

Trash is strictly a human byproduct. Just walk Newport’s sands after a crowded summer day. Or stand by the outflow of the Santa Ana River, or the entrance to the Upper Bay estuary post-storm to witness the “flood” of trash tangled in broken foliage washed downstream, to either float offshore, rest on our beaches or become locked in the life-giving vegetation of the Back Bay.

Newport’s coast is but a mini-microcosm of the world’s oceans and beaches. The largest trash receptacle in the world is the North Pacific Gyre — aka the Great Pacific Garbage Patch — where human debris becomes trapped in a circulating meeting of currents constrained by landmasses. Indeterminate in size, this Garbage Patch is estimated to encompass between 270,000 and 5.8 million square miles.

Concern for our environment over the decades has spawned some very influential, nonprofit organizations dedicated to the maintenance and preservation of the world’s oceans, seas and coasts.

One such group is the Surfrider Foundation, founded in 1984, by “a handful of visionary surfers in Malibu.” Since then, the San Clemente-based organization has grown to “include a diverse group of ocean and beach enthusiasts,” according to Stephanie Sekich-Quinn, Senior Manager, Coast and Climate Initiative.

Today, the organization focuses on research on the condition of the world’s oceans, compiling reports from a broad variety of sources so it can “advocate for better laws to protect coastlines.”

The foundation claims more than one million supporters, activists and 200-volunteer-led chapters and student clubs in the U.S, with “more than 800 victories protecting our coasts.” Worldwide, they list chapters in South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Oceania.

With its 1,100 miles of coastline, California “leads the country in coastal management,” a recent Surfrider report claims. The state received a “Beach Grade” of A, due to “excellent policies and implementation focusing on sediment management, coastal armoring, development control and sea level rise.”

Another well-known monitoring and activist group, Heal the Bay, headquartered in Santa Monica, listed 51 out of 500 daily-monitored beaches and watersheds in the state to its Honor Roll, up from 35 last year. Locally, both Corona del Mar and Crystal Cove made the cut.

To earn a spot on the Honor Roll, a beach must be monitored weekly all year and must receive an A+ for all seasons and weather conditions.

It’s no accident that Newport Beach’s beaches are A+ rated. Credit can be given not only to environmentally sensitive and beach proud residents, but to the city’s five-member quality control team led by Senior Engineer John Kappeler.

“We test 35 spots in the bay and ocean once a week for bacteria,” said Kappeler, adding that “Our current focus is on keeping trash and debris out of our waters. The back area of the harbor doesn’t get as much flushing as the open areas, but the next phase of dredging beginning in March will help that.”

Up to 850,000 cubic yards of silt will be removed.

The Upper Bay is an ecological preserve, with “lots of native stuff out there,” Kappeler observed. “Trampling on the foliage does more harm than good.”

It’s a challenge to keep debris out. To that end, there are interceptor traps set above the Upper Bay to capture as much waste as possible. At the Newport Aquatic Center, a boom is set to ensnare trash and debris—up to 70-80 tons annually. Kappeler is quick to mention that much of the debris is wet vegetation along with plastic bottles, thus adding to the tonnage.

“About 700 tons of debris yearly flows down the Santa Ana River to pollute ocean and beaches alike,” he said. Most debris pollution in Newport occurs on the city’s western beaches.

Not all control efforts are visible. “Throughout the city, we have things called CDS units that are buried underground in storm drains that capture trash, up to 20-30 tons annually,” Kappeler shared.

Depending on the size of these, they are cleaned out either quarterly or twice a year. Trash is then trucked to the Newport’s maintenance yard, dried out, then delivered to a landfill. Cost for each unit range between $250,000 and $1 million.

Like the submarine branch of our Navy, Kappeler and his maintenance – and Eco – surveillance team are truly a “silent service.”

Yet their environmental efforts scream loudly in helping to keep Newport Beach the clean and beautiful city it is.

Source: The Trashy Side of Newport Beach

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Newport Harbor’s newest and largest public dock is now open for recreational boaters.

On Friday, March 29 I had the pleasure of joining Newport Beach City Council members along with officials from the County of Orange, the Irvine Company and State Assembly to celebrate the Balboa Marina Public Pier grand opening.

Newport Beach has a handful of iconic attractions that have stood the test of time: The Newport Pier, which replaced the original McFadden Wharf (1888-1939) and is registered as a California Historical Landmark; the Balboa Pavilion, which opened on July 1, 1906 and is the city’s oldest standing building; and the Balboa Island Ferry, which went into service in 1919 to bring cars and passengers across 900 feet of water between Balboa Island and the Balboa Fun Zone.

Michele Gile reports from Newport Beach with Seymour Beek, where many are celebrating that the beloved Balboa Island ferry’s fate is no longer in jeopardy after receiving a $7.9 million grant to convert from diesel to zero-emissions operations by 2025.

The 8th Annual Newport Beach Wooden Boat Festival will return to the Balboa Yacht Club, June 7 – 8, 2024 with more than 40 wooden vessels of all sizes on display, and a collection of master artisans and craftsmen at work.

This year’s festival theme is “The Art & Craft of the Wooden Boat” in celebration of the creative artistry, intricate craftsmanship, and timeless beauty of wooden boats.
“Event guests will be able to immerse themselves in the centuries-old artform of wooden boat building, and the fine woodworking and artistic details that adorn the boats,” said event chair Stephen Paljieg. “This year’s event will be bigger and better than ever. Its theme captures the essence of the passion and artistry behind these magnificent, one-of-a-kind watercrafts and the inclusion of the master craftsmen who build and keep them in ‘Bristol condition’ takes it to a whole new level of experience.”