Upper Newport Bay in Newport Beach is an estuary – a place where fresh and salt water meet and mix. It is one of only a few remaining coastal estuaries in Southern California and is home to nearly 200 species of birds, including several endangered species, as well as numerous mammals, fish, and native plants. The bay is an important stopover for migrating waterfowl and shorebirds on the Pacific Flyway – up to 30,000 birds can be seen daily during the winter months. The bay is renowned for both its beauty and outstanding outdoor activities that include bird-watching, jogging, bicycling, hiking and kayaking.
For a list of upcoming events at Upper Newport Bay, click here.
There are three government entities responsible for the management of roughly 1,000 acres (over 1.5 square miles) of public open space at and around Upper Newport Bay:
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) is responsible for managing the 752 acre Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve, which includes the tidelands and certain adjacent upland areas stretching northwards from the Back Bay Science Center at Shellmaker Road to Jamboree Road.
OC Parks is responsible for managing the 140 acre Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve, which includes upland areas on the north side of the Bay in the vicinity of the Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center, and on the east side of Back Bay Drive from Big Canyon to Eastbluff Drive.
The City of Newport Beach is responsible for managing the roughly 50 acres between the Big Canyon freshwater pond and Jamboree Road, as well as various other parcels such as Newport Valley. The City’s Office of Natural Resources hosts weekly community days at the Back Bay Science Center.
Information courtesy of Newport Bay Conservancy, a nonprofit focused exclusively on the conservation and restoration of Upper Newport Bay.
Click here to see a guide to plants found in Upper Newport Bay, courtesy of the California Coastal Commission Community-Based Restoration and Education Program.