Photos of Newport Beach
Jetties, Newport Beach California
Photos of Newport Beach Jetties, Newport Beach, California - In popular surfing culture Newport jetties are commonly
thought of as River Jetties or RJ, derived from the Santa Ana River County beach
from which Newport Beach harbor got its start.
On the jetties pictured
above near 28th Street, these words of caution are posted: WARNING - No Diving
or Jumping from this structure. Submerged rocks, sharp and slippery rocks,
dangerous waves (high surf) and strong. CAUTION - Hazardous and changing
conditions may exist on or around this structure. Stay Alert - Be Careful.
Fishing License Required - Licencia de pescar requerida
Newport Beach jetties and dredging made
Newport Beach what it is today. Yacht clubs with the world's finest ocean craft,
industries such as Duffy Electric Boat Company, and harbor cruises and dinner
events have all prospered thanks to the jetties. The largest benefactor of the
jetties and dredging efforts are investors. A tiny beach shack that costs $2
million at one time would have cost a few cents.
A series of jetties along the
Newport Beach coast extend from the northernmost point at the mouth of the Santa
Ana River where it empties into the Pacific Ocean, all the way to the tip of the
Newport peninsula where boats exit a channel to the ocean. In the late
19th century, Newport Beach was muddier than Huntington Beach's swamp land
(that's now been dredged and turned into housing developments.) Impassable to
ships, a similar swamp was in Newport was purchased by James McFadden who paid a
dollar per acre. Purchasing this muddy bog from the federal government, he
bought a large portion of the peninsula from 40th Street to 9th Street in 1892.
In 1905 when the Pacific Electric Red Car
came to Newport Beach and tourism grew, the urge to develop the swamps became
possible, thanks to dredging and the idea of building jetties. The construction
of its network of jetties began in the 1920s. Jetties kept the waves out of the
harbor and left sand on the beach. From 1917 to 1921, a 1,900-foot jetty
at the harbor's mouth on the west side of the ocean and a dam that diverted the
Santa Ana River from the bay were completed. Six years later in 1927, the west
jetty was extended and an east jetty at the harbor's mouth was built, changing
the course of nature.
Newport Beach quickly became
a sought out destination for celebrities and filmmakers, plus developers.
Balboa Island lots that sold for $200 (couldn't give them away) now cost upwards
of $1,000 per foot on the waterfront today.
Building jetties in today's
climate would be a tough proposition in this same location. One similar proposal
several years ago in Huntington Beach was nixed as efforts to return a portion
of land to its original state as a tidal inlet for a wetlands was funded. That
project opened in 2006, successfully enhancing the Pacific Flyway nesting areas
for migratory fowl and other wildlife.
Newport Beach experiences
similar concerns. Its Upper Newport Bay has been preserved as as significant
flyway for migratory fowl. The Upper Bay flows into the Lower Bay exiting to the
Pacific Ocean. Silt and sediment deposits have nearly choked the Upper Bay
and similarly, dredging is needed in the lower bay. In 2006 a dredging effort
was funded and began in Newport Upper Bay. Its shelf life is expected to be
around 20 years until dredging is once again required. Toxic solids are moved by
barge from the bay in an effort that takes approx. 3 hours to complete. The
dredged sludge and mud requires special treatment to dispose of or store safely
and US Army Corps of Engineers is involved in procedures to regulate and monitor
Many ask why dredging of the
channel to the Pacific Ocean has not begun, and the reply has been: There
are areas in the harbor that require maintenance dredging. However, since the
sediment has tested to be unsuitable for ocean disposal, no other suitable sites
have been identified at this time. Since funds are not available, no dredging
activities are programmed in FY 06 or FY 07.
Such is the price of activities that
artificially alter nature's path. In fact, jetties in Newport Beach permanently
eliminated a surfing spot in Corona del Mar, a Newport Beach community.