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

What They’re Saying: Orange County officials celebrate sand replenishment funding

Following passage of last week’s funding bill that included $15.5 million for the Surfside-Sunset and Newport Beach Replenishment Project, Orange County officials celebrated the bill being signed into law and thanked Rep. Michelle Steel (R-CA) for championing this funding through Congress:

“Our coastal communities and local businesses were impacted last year by flooding, the oil spill, and the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley.“This long overdue funding to replenish the sand in our coastal community is critical to protect our local residents and tourism economy.”

“The City of Newport Beach appreciates Congresswoman Steel’s persistent efforts to secure federal funding for the Surfside-Sunset Ocean Beach Sand Replenishment Project. This is an extremely important project for our community, the environment and all those who enjoy Newport Beach’s waterways and coastline,” said Newport Beach Mayor Kevin Muldoon.

“On behalf of the City of Seal Beach I want to thank Congresswoman Michelle Steel for her hard work and perseverance in securing the necessary funding for the sand replenishment project at our Surfside Colony beach. This project will help to insure the integrity of not only our Seal Beach coastline, but will nourish the coastline of our neighboring cities of Huntington Beach and Newport Beach,” said Seal Beach Mayor Joe Kalmick. 

“On behalf of Huntington Beach residents and all local beachgoers, I am so grateful to Congresswoman Michelle Steel for her help securing $15 million of federal funding to replenish nearly 1 million cubic yards of sand to our local beaches. Ideally, this occurs every 7-10 years. However, the critically important nourishment has not occurred since 2009. I am delighted that, as a result of Congresswoman Steel’s sponsorship and project advocacy, Federal legislation now commits the federal government to fund two-thirds of the cost of sand replenishment on our local beaches,” said Huntington Beach Mayor Barbara Delgleize. 

“This sand replenishment project is critical for the Newport Beach Peninsula and West Newport community, as it will provide greater flood protection and the long-term maintenance of our most precious natural resource,” said City Council member Diane Dixon, who represents Newport Beach’s coastal areas. “We are thrilled that this funding has been signed into law and appreciate Congresswoman Steel’s continued advocacy.”    

“The Surfside Sunset Beach Restoration project was held up for years due to lack of federal funding. In her first term in office, Representative Steel arranged for the project to be included in the FY22 Funding Bill, allowing for the much-delayed beach restoration to proceed. This is incredibly important to the Orange County community,” said John Kriss, President of the Surfside Storm Water Protection District. 

Background on Surfside-Sunset and Newport Beach Replenishment Project:

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.

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

This article was released by the Office of Senator Scott Wilk.