featured graphic for Michelle Steel, Congresswoman for California’s 48th District, after COVID-19

Surfside-Sunset and Newport Beach Replenishment Project funding passes House

Today the U.S. House of Representatives passed funding for the next fiscal year that included $15.5 million for the Surfside-Sunset & Newport Beach Replenishment Project, which Rep. Michelle Steel (CA-48) secured for Orange County. Rep. Steel made a direct funding request with the support of Orange County leaders and project stakeholders. The project funding was included in the Energy and Water Development and Related Agency Funding Bill for the upcoming fiscal year (FY 2022).

The legislation now heads to the Senate for consideration.

“This is an exciting step towards getting much-needed sand replenishment for our coastline. The federal government took responsibility for sand erosion decades ago, but for the past ten years has failed our community. I’ve worked with local stakeholders to protect our residents and make sure our beaches are healthy. I urge our Senators to include this important project funding in their must-pass funding bills,”said Rep. Steel.

Background

The erosion on Orange County’s beaches can be traced back to federal projects in the 1940s. The federal government widened Anaheim Bay and constructed breakwaters and jetties to service the new military bases that opened to boost military efforts for the U.S. Pacific Fleet. The USACE also created flood control projects along three local rivers, and breakwaters were constructed to create and protect the Los Angeles/Long Beach harbor. This new construction created narrowed beaches up and down the coastline that were now susceptible to extreme erosion.

The USACE and the federal government, realizing the damage that had been caused, took steps to repair the issue. The project was referred to as the “San Gabriel to Newport Bay Beach Renourishment Project (Surfside-Sunset),” and today it’s the Surfside-Sunset & Newport Beach Replenishment Project (Stage 13). The repair project, done in increments, began with in 1964 and saw eight more project stages through 1990. The project had a continued partnership between the federal government, which provided 67% of the financing, and local communities, which provided the remaining 33%. The local cost share was always covered when it was time for a new project stage.

Then in 1995, after planning Stage 10, the USACE abandoned their responsibilities to Orange County. In 2000, the USACE stated that it was no longer budgeting for any future stages in Orange County. This left the communities on the hook for the high costs and left the coast at a high risk for flooding and major storm damage.

For information on the FY2022 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill, click here.

To read more about Representative Steel’s work on this project, click here.

This article was released by the Office of Representative Michelle Steel.