30 by 30, Preserve 30% of California’s land and coastline by 2030 - SPON members joined the Southland Regional 30 by 30 group. This collection of Advocacy groups is identifying important area for protection, for example, the Irvine Corridor that allows wildlife to travel without crossing freeways or major roads. SPON members attended the City of Newport Beach Water Quality Committee and alerted the City and the Committee members to the availability of 30 by 30 potential funding specifically in the area of coastline conservation and protection.
Ensign Middle School Tree Removal – SPON worked with Newport Heights neighbors and sought an injunction to pause the removal of mature, landmark trees on the School District property along Cliff Drive until a more adequate environmental review could be conducted.
Private Encroachments – SPON worked in support of the California Coastal Commission regarding its mandate to remove illegal private property encroachments on Balboa Peninsula’s public beaches.
Orange County Parks/Sheriff’s Department Harbor Facility - SPON members are working with other residents to improve parking and ADA access at the OC Parks/Sheriff’s Department Harbor Patrol Facility on Bayside Drive in the City of Newport Beach.
Environmental Engagement - SPON monitored and responded to several environmentally sensitive projects, including: the Management Plan for the Western Snowy Plover and the renovation plan for lower Big Canyon.
Banning Ranch - SPON provided two matching grants to help inform the public about preserving Banning Ranch, the last open space along the Orange County coast. The Banning Ranch Conservancy raised the $97 million needed to purchase the Ranch, renamed the Randall Reserve. Finally, in 2022, escrow closed and they are currently working with the owner on site remediation to create a nearly 400-acre nature park.
Environmental Nature Center - SPON sponsored a boat and entered the Duffy Boat Scavenger hunt to raise funds for the Environmental Nature Center. SPON members were instrumental in raising funds for the Center’s current facilities.
Bay View Park - SPON sponsored the creation of Jan’s Wildflower Meadow, which was planted in honor Dr. Jan Vandersloot, an ardent champion of preserving open space in Newport Beach and elsewhere. He received SPON’s Environmental Award for his tireless effort.
Local Coastal Plan - SPON added significant comments to the Newport Beach local Coastal Plan that was being developed for submission to the Coastal Commission.
Green Vision Project - Members of SPON participated with the Friends of Harbors, Beaches and Parks to begin the Green Vision project. The Green Vision identifies key pieces of land in Orange County and the entire State that could be candidates for access for wildlife and open spaces for recreation. The Green Vision is one of the base elements in the current 30 x 30 project, preserving 30% of California’s land and coastline by 2030.
Measure L - SPON worked to gather enough signatures to defeat Measure L, which would have approved a hotel at publicly owned Marina Park. Instead, an aquatic park was born.
Newport Bay View Park - SPON successfully advocated for the use of native vegetation.
Treated Wastewater Release - SPON supported Defend the Bay’s opposition to the Irvine Ranch Water District’s plan to release treated wastewater into Newport Bay.
Measure A - SPON’s initiative to purchase Castaways, Newport North and Bayshore Landing qualified for the ballot The initiative failed in a close vote. But eventually the effort resulted in the Irvine Company giving Castaways Park to the City in exchange for development rights. This was made possible by the efforts in prior years to activate residents to fight for these open spaces.
Newport Bay Conservancy - SPON formed Friends of the Bay that became the Newport Bay Conservancy to obtain and preserve open space. The Newport Bay Conservancy is now an independent organization that is solely focused on protecting Upper Newport Bay, a remarkable and important preservation area.
Walk on the Wild Side - SPON organized this really fun event to protect and preserve Castaways and Newport North as open space.
Back Bay Estuary - SPON sued the City over their support to expand Newport Center. The Irvine Company negotiated with SPON and the result was the dedication of 80 acres of the Upper Bay that surrounds the Muth Interpretive Center.
Touch of Green - SPON formed the Touch of Green Committee to save Cliff Drive Park and the Avon Street wetlands. Both exist today and the Cliff Park views are breathtaking.
Water Quality, Algae - With algae blooms turning many Bay Beaches an unwanted green, SPON members tracked down the source and then worked to convince the upstream nurseries to recycle their fertilizer laden runoff.
Water Quality, Ocean Discharges - When sewage treatment plants up and down the coast sought waivers from the requirements of the Clean Water Act, SPON members successfully advocated and worked for a denial of the waivers, thus maintaining sewage treatment at its current high level prior to discharge.
Water Quality Initiatives - To prevent bay and harbor contamination, SPON worked to require holding tanks on all boats with heads, increase the number of pump-out stations in the Harbor, require onshore bathrooms in all marinas, limit the number of “live-aboards” on moorings, and educate the public on pollution prevention.
Park Ordinance -SPON provided support for a park ordinance that was created by Dr. Gene Atherton, a Laguna resident. The ordinance requires that 5 acres of park per thousand new residents be established.
Citizens’ Water Quality Advisory Committee – SPON members requested that the City form this committee. It has developed into the current City established Water Quality and Tidelands Committee.
Bay Beautiful Week - SPON organized all the Homeowners’ associations along the Bay to devote one day a week to cleanup trash in the Bay. Residents appeared and were given big green SPON emblazoned trash bags that were filled as the day progressed. After five years the effort was taken on by the Chamber of Commerce. The City is now working on installing a Water Wheel that will help in this effort as the trash burden that flows into Newport Beach from inland is staggering.
Friends of Newport Coast - SPON began actively supporting the Friends of Newport Coast to save the coast between Newport Beach and Laguna Beach from over development.
Stop Polluting Our Newport is dedicated to preserving the existing charm and beauty of our City, and generally supports the City’s General Plan Vision Statement (although by no means all the development given the “Greenlight” through the public’s vote on that plan’s development tables in 2006 — much of which seems at odds with the stated vision).
Adherence to the City’s residential character and residential density makes it crucial to form zoning and planning regulations that promote this vision and goal, sustaining the City of Newport Beach as an unparalleled place to live, visit and work.
SPON has been working on its own vision and mission since 1974 when a torrential rainstorm contaminated Newport Bay and inspired citizens to come together to actively protect and preserve Newport Beach’s unique environment.
Building a cohesive and comprehensive voice throughout the community is paramount if we are to protect and preserve the residential and environmental qualities that make Newport Beach such a desirable community, first and foremost, for its residents. And that takes time, energy, volunteers and funding.
Your contributions to SPON, a 501(c)(3) organization, are tax deductible. We encourage you to join your friends and neighbors in funding SPON’s efforts to protect and preserve the residential and environmental character of our Newport Beach. Thank you.
Newport Beach is a gem of a City. And that is by no accident. Our City celebrates a unique environment largely because SPON members and citizens have taken the initiative to:
- Limit the number of flights and passengers using Orange County Airport and maintain the current night curfew
- Stop a coastal freeway from dividing Newport Beach in two
- Limit the height of buildings ringing the waterfront
- Keep the Upper Bay an undeveloped and natural estuary
- Provide adequate numbers of pump-out stations for boats
- Require housing developers to dedicate land for public parks
- Promote a cleaner bay and stop inland nurseries from releasing algae-producing nutrients that run into the bay
- Convince the Irvine Company to dedicate open space around the Upper Bay
- Require developments that generate traffic to improve traffic flow on streets and intersections
- Keep beaches and the bay clean with periodic clean-up events
SPON is for everyone. Please join us as we work to protect and preserve Newport Beach’s unique environment. SPON dues are tax deductible. General contributions are too, and are always welcome and put to good use.