As a member of the Newport Bay Watershed Executive Committee, as a representative of the City of Irvine, and as a life-long environmentalist, it was my pleasure to speak today at the ceremony marking the start of an extensive project to remove high levels of sediment from the Newport Bay Watershed.
The project, which will remove 172 thousand cubic yards of sediment, will protect many aquatic, wildlife, and rare and endangered species that habitat in Newport Bay, as well as protect the integrity of our flood channels.
Here is what I said:
“Prior to development, this section of the Irvine Ranch was mainly agricultural.
Geographically, Irvine is the largest city in Orange County and it has now grown to become the third largest by population after Anaheim and Santa Ana.
Our planning prioritizes smart, sustainable growth, particularly now, and we are a leader in low-impact development.
Our growth in population and modern development must be balanced with our need to protect our City’s natural open spaces and waterways. In fact, we have dedicated over a third of the land in our City to permanent open space. As our population continues to grow, must our efforts to maintain and enhance environmental health.
We have worked with our partners on major environmental engineering projects, such as this one, to protect our watershed and capture sediment and other environmental hazards before they enter Upper Newport Bay.
Another example is the Natural Treatment System, a partnership with the Irvine Company and Irvine Ranch Water District. The Natural Treatment System is modeled after a natural treatment system and provides a cost-effective, environmentally sound method for treating dry weather runoff to remove nitrogen, phosphorus and bacteria.
Ongoing collaboration between agencies is critical. We all have a vested interest in preserving the long-term health and safety of our regional watershed and our common interests go beyond municipal boundaries.
Our proactive approach to water treatment mitigates urban runoff and excess water flow and significantly reduces the amount of trash, debris, and many other pollutants entering into our storm drain systems and Newport Bay.
This is how we protect our home, not just for ourselves, but for future generations.