Kayak the Upper Newport Bay

Gliding through the waters of Upper Newport Bay provides an up-close and tactile way to experience the beauty and serenity of this natural estuary. Volunteer docents lead groups through the bay, discussing the ecological, geological and geographical history of this important estuary while you paddle along the shallow shores taking in the sights, sounds and smells of this preserved natural aquatic setting.
The tours are led in the waters of the Department of Fish and Wildlife Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve. The family-friendly tours are a relaxing, fun and easy way to see the bay, and are great for novice and experienced paddlers alike. Reservations are required, but no previous kayaking experience is needed. More…

World Wetlands Day

Human Impacts on Estuaries:
Sea Level Rise and Algal Blooms
In Observance of World Wetlands Day/
47th Anniversary of the Ramsar Convention
Back Bay Science Center
8:30 a.m. Parking, check-in & breakfast
9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.  Speakers
1:00 p.m. TBA Demonstrations/Walking Tours

$10/members, $15/public ($20 door)

For full list of speakers/schedule or to purchase tickets, click HERE.

Donate to the Bay this Holiday Season

In 1963, “No Trespassing” signs were placed at the Upper Newport Bay. Construction was to begin on residential development and channelization for new, private marinas. Imagine what the Ecological Reserve would look like today if the Friends of Newport Bay had not banded together to save the Bay from development. Neither this sheltered estuary rich with marine life, nor the great diversity of indigenous plants and wildlife species we enjoy would be present. Gone would be our healthy rest stop for thousands of migrating and nesting birds. The trails available for the public to enjoy bicycling, hiking and horseback riding, as well as the Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center or Back Bay Science Center would not exist.

Supporting the Conservancy will help continue our mission to preserve and protect the Bay. Your donation will:

  • HELP us instill a love of nature through field trips for over 3,ooo K-college students,
  • SUPPORT outreach events including Earth Day and Coastal Cleanup Day, and
  • ALLOW us to continue offering nature walks, pre-school story times, naturalist-led kayak tours, symposia on crucial environmental topics, development of new exhibits, removal of invasive plants, restoration of native plants, and research on projects that affect and protect the Bay.

Your donation makes a difference, and we thank you for your generosity. DONATE TODAY.

Upper Newport Bay

The Upper Newport Bay (located in Newport Beach Ca.) is a large coastal wetland (an estuary) in Southern California and a major stopover for birds on the Pacific Flyway. Dozens of species, including endangered ones, can be observed here. Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve and Ecological Reserve represent approximately 1,000 acres (4 km2) of open space. The Upper Newport Bay was purchased by the state in 1975 for its Fish and Wildlife Department’s Ecological Reserve System. In 1985 the upper west bluffs and lands surrounding the bay became part of a county regional park. This beautiful setting offers outdoor activities such as bird-watching, jogging, bicycling, hiking, and kayaking. The Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center, located at 2301 University Drive, is open to the public Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. An organization known as theNewport Bay Conservancy (NBC) provides volunteers to answer your questions and guide you to the various activities.  NBC naturalists volunteers offer numerous educational opportunities including bird and plant walks and guided kayak tours.

The bay is recognized for protection by the California Bays and Estuaries Policy.[1]

Upper Newport Bay is connected to the ocean through Newport Beach harbor.


Inaugural Charity
Golf Tournament
Newport Beach Golf Course
October 14, 2017
3 P.M. Golf Check-in
4 P.M. Shotgun Start
7:30 P.M. Dinner with Newport Rib Company, Silent Auction & Awards Banquet


Register as an individual ($125 inc. dinner), foursome ($400 inc. dinner) or join us for dinner, silent auction and awards banquet following the golfers ($50).

Play Nine 4 Nature, benefiting the Conservancy’s ongoing efforts in education, restoration, research and advocacy.

For more information or to register, visit www.Eventbrite.com  or call 949-923-2290.

Bayview Bridge Closed 7/31

Bridge over the Delhi channel will be closed for all users starting Monday, July 31 until September 15. Click HERE for detour information.


Upper Newport Bay as a Beautiful Estuary

Estuaries are places like no other. Unique features include:

  • Estuaries can make up an individual ecosystem. The Mississippi Delta estuaries in the Gulf of Mexico are different from estuaries in San Francisco Bay.
  • Life is dynamic and diverse in estuaries. Some animals and plants specialize in, or adapt to, living in the unique conditions of estuaries.
  • Because of the Earth’s changing geology, flowing water and different weather patterns help create many diverse types of estuarine habitats.
  • Rivers provide nutrients, organic matter, and sediments to estuaries.
  • Estuaries can filter small amounts of pollutants and runoff. Vegetation helps filter and trap silt.
  • Estuaries act like huge sponges, buffering and protecting upland areas from crashing waves and preventing soil erosion.
  • Estuaries provide a safe haven and protective nursery for small fish, shellfish, migrating birds, and coastal shore animals.
  • People enjoy living near estuaries and the surrounding coastline. They sail, fish, hike, swim, and enjoy bird watching.

SOCALPAPA artists return to the Bay

Saturday and Sunday, July 15-16
10-4 pm daily

Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center
Free parking, admission

Weekend show and sale highlight the Back Bay, many other OC Parks and iconic outdoor landmarks in Southern California. Hundreds of original pieces from over 40 Southern California Plein Air Painters Association artists truly showcase the beauty and natural heritage.

Art classes for children ages 7-12 will also be hosted in the classroom that weekend (prior signup required). A portion of the sale proceeds will go to the Newport Bay Conservancy, resulting in a partial charitable tax write-off for the art purchaser. More…

Recognition for “Mr. Back Bay”

Jack Keating has been the leading voice speaking on behalf of Back Bay in Newport Beach since the early 90’s, picking-up the mantle from Frank and Fran Robinson who led the citizen’s campaign to save the Bay through the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.

On a Saturday afternoon this May, a large gathering of community leaders, donors, active volunteers with the Newport Bay Conservancy and members of the Keating family gathered in front of the Peter & Mary Muth Interpretive Center to see the Keating Family name being installed on the Van Sant donor wall.  This was our way of saying thank you to Jack for his tireless efforts to protect and preserve the Bay, including Jack’s lead role in fundraising for the Interpretive Center and the popular Vista Point viewpoint at the corner of Eastbluff Drive and Back Bay Drive.  The Keating family also donated money to help us produce a book to tell the evolving story of saving Newport’s Back Bay for our 50th anniversary next year. We can’t thank Jack, Libby and his entire family enough for their continuous support to the Bay.

Fittingly the weather was beautiful and the view from the patio across the Bay was stunning. To see pictures of this event, click here.

Nesting Season Begins

Many migratory birds as well as locals begin to make the Bay their nursery this Spring. One species of special interest is the endangered Ridgway’s Rail. This bird is a poor flyer and moves mostly on foot under the cover of cord grass and other vegetation. It can be rarely seen in the early morning looking for snails, crabs, insects, and other food along the edge of the marsh; however few of our naturalists have ever seen it. Upper Newport Bay hosts the largest subpopulation of this bird remaining in the US. We will continue to keep an eye out for these special birds to protect them through the season and ensure a new generation is able to grow. Tips to help our friends:

cr and 3 chicks

Stay on Trails. During the nesting season it is important to stay on marked trails and obey all park signage and to stay off of the marsh to assure that you do not accidentally crush any nests under foot or scare away nesting mothers that may abandon their eggs or young.

Keep Dogs on Leashes. As much as we want to let our furry friends run free, keeping your dog on leash assures that they will not chase off any nesting birds. Keeping your dog on leash protects wildlife and protects your dog too. It also helps to manage dog waste in the bay, so grab a bag and make sure you clean up after Fido as well.

Keep it Clean. We have cleaned up a lot but now that the birds are nesting we can’t do as much to help out. Help us by packing out what you pack in. Water bottles and styrofoam were two major threats so be aware of what you use and where it might end up. In addition to trash, be aware of poisonous pesticides, fertilizers, and rodenticides that you might use in your gardens or around your home and think of where those chemicals will travel when the rains come.

Earth Day at the Bay

Saturday, April 22, 2017
Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center
2301 University Dr. Newport Beach
10 – 3 p.m.
Free parking, free admission
Bring some cash for food trucks and opportunity drawing

Newport Bay Conservancy, in partnership with OC Parks, present the 27th Annual Earth Day at the Bay.  Earth Day is a time when we can all reflect on the importance of our natural surroundings and how we can preserve and protect them. This Earth Day event features many exhibits and booths designed to help us connect with the natural world and help preserve it for future generations. Live music, children’s arts and crafts, scavenger hunt, live presentations, environmental movie shorts, and so much more.

Visit our Earth Day webpage for all the latest information.