The Newport Bay Conservancy (NBC) does not own or manage any land at Upper Newport Bay. It works in support of the California Department of Fish and Game, OC Parks, and the City of Newport Beach who manage different geographical areas of Upper Newport Bay, and in partnership with many other stakeholders, including neighboring homeowner associations whose property adjoins the Bay. Our stewardship role is multi-leveled and multi-faceted.
Our Naturalists organize, lead and/or perform many different hands-on stewardship activities including habitat restoration, trail maintenance, and trash removal. We also seek grants and other funding to provide tools and supplies for use by ourselves and our partners. The tool trailer purchased and outfitted through a grant from State Street is an example of this. It is used for all of the community-based restoration partners to use.
We manage contractor-based restoration projects, and seek grants to perform this work. One particularly innovative project was performed recently in collaboration with The Bluffs Homeowner Community Association (HCA) and others. The endeavor offers a model for future cooperative restoration projects and was significant for a number of reasons. First, the project addressed ongoing concern with invasive plants that threaten the estuary ecosystem. Second, the project responded to the need for the community to be more judicious in water use. Third, the project addressed the need for the restored area to be aesthetically pleasing and acceptable to residents of The Bluffs to assure continued maintenance. The project was funded primarily through a grant NBC received from Southern California Wetlands Recovery Project and sited on the slopes above Big Canyon in an area considered a conduit for invasive plant propagation into Big Canyon, and from there into UNB. NBNF provided guidance to The Bluffs HCA, its landscape architect and Park West (its landscape maintenance contractor); engaged the Orange County Conservation Corps to help with removal of invasives; and gave presentations to educate the homeowners about the value of the project and address concerns they had. NBNF continues to be involved in monitoring of weed control and plant maintenance, since these post-project activities are vital to the long-term success of restoration efforts.
At the management level we facilitate the UNB Restoration Team meetings at which community-based and contractor-based project planning is performed, and we document project progress and monitor outcomes in a common Bay-wide GIS tracking system.
Additionally we advocate at a local, state and federal level to help ensure that vital projects such as the recently-completed Army corps of Engineers UNB Ecosystem Restoration Project are properly funded and executed.