NEWPORT BEACH — As the city embarks on dredging long-neglected areas of the harbor, required federal funding and approvals may not materialize before a critical deadline.
The obstacles threaten the city's first significant harbor dredging in more than 75 years, when the bay's sandbars were originally scooped out. Today, boaters often get stuck on shoals or can't leave their berths on low tide.
If harbor officials can't get the $6.9-million project launched before mid-March, they risk losing landfill space at the Port of Long Beach and would have to spend millions more to dump polluted dirt inland.
"It's something that I'm working on and I'm very concerned about," Harbor Resources Manager Chris Miller said at last week's Tidelands Management Committee meeting. "We're doing everything that we can."
City leaders and lobbyists are pressing contacts in the Army Corps of Engineers and Congress.
But federal resource management officials are still reviewing the project, said Christopher Bognanno, spokesman for Rep. John Campbell (R-Newport Beach).