VSA Helps Newport, Calif., with Harbor Dredging
The City of Newport, Calif., a client of VSA, has recently signed a unique cost-sharing agreement with the Corps of Engineers that will allow the City to award a dredging contract this spring to clean up the Lower Newport Harbor for the first time since 2003.
“We couldn’t have done this on our own. We would not have had the same level of success or funding without having someone working with the Corps and Congress who knows exactly whom to talk to and when to do it. VSA helped us across logjams, through hurdles, and pointed out potential sources of funding that we otherwise would not have known about. Having VSA with us got the project done,” said Dave Kiff, City Manager.
The Lower Newport Harbor has been the collection point of contaminated sediments and significant shoaling from the Newport watershed since its original construction in the 1930s. Although badly needed, maintenance dredging of the Harbor had not been accomplished since 2003 and only then to a minimum extent due to limited Federal funding.
Over the past year, VSA Vice President Jim Crum worked with the City of Newport to develop a way to supplement limited Federal funding with local funding while creating greater Federal justification through emphasizing the need to clean-up the contamination areas in the Harbor.
VSA worked with the City, its Congressional delegation and staff, the Assistant Secretary of Defense’s office of Civil Works, and the Corps of Engineers Headquarters to develop the unique approach documented in the recently approved Memorandum of Agreement. In addition, the effort helped create awareness and consideration for an additional $1.98 million in the 2012 Corps’ workplan for the harbor that was approved in February this year.
The MOA was the first of its kind in terms of cost-sharing a dredging project for a lower priority harbor in California. Approval of the MOA allows the award of the dredging contract that is expected mid-March and the clean up of the Lower Newport Harbor main channel to restore environmental value to the area and improve boating safety.