4. The HAMP is a management tool
Q. The HAMP is some sort of plan?
A. "HAMP” is an acronym for Harbor Area Management Plan. The HAMP is a management tool the City of Newport Beach is developing to integrate management tasks for Newport Harbor. Many of its elements come from former HB-1, the “Harbor and Bay Element” of the previous City General Plan. However, HB-1 did not provide the integrated approach that will be proposed to balance unique local conditions with rigid governmental regulations. A primary goal of the HAMP is to enable large scale maintenance dredging in Newport Harbor.
Q. How does the HAMP fit into the City's planning framework?
A. The HAMP will serve the harbor as the Local Coastal Plan (LCP) serves shoreside management. Because the bay presents management situations unique to the tidelands, the HAMP will address these. In 2005, strategies to fund development of a HAMP were mentioned, and in May 2007, a contract was let to Weston Solutions for its development. Also providing HAMP input under contract are Everest International and Rick Ware of Coastal Resources Management (*.pdf-38 KB) . From the June 2007 Harbor Resources Manager’s Update, another consultant, Larry Paul, with extensive water quality background, has been hired to manage and coordinate day-to-day operations of the contract team to ensure it would stay on track to delivery of the desired product.
Q. How does the HAMP further City goals?
A. The HAMP will describe how the City plans to manage the tidelands within the challenging framework of government regulation. By including habitat goals for the harbor, management of environmental mitigation, and water quality and total maximum daily loads (TMDL) of various substances, the HAMP will eventually enable dredging projects beyond the City's narrower scope RGP 54 permit.
The HAMP seeks to balance and integrate into a comprehensive plan all the uses of all the harbor's users, human or not. Once the HAMP is finalized, the California Coastal Commission will be able to evaluate and approve the it, City Council will be able to adopt it, and the City of Newport Beach will enjoy greater autonomy in managing the bay in accordance with it.
The HAMP will act as a programmatic permit, adherence with which the Coastal Commission can periodically audit for consistency of application. The HAMP will help reduce the number of instances when people will need to seek Individual Permits from permitting agencies for dredging, as when those activities fall beyond the scope of the current RGP 54 permit.
Q. Hasn't the City managed fine until now, without the HAMP?
A. Actually, the City has been unsuccessful in resolving the conflict between environmental issues and safe navigation issues by addressing them individually. Necessary maintenance dredging cannot be accomplished without addressing eelgrass mitigation and sediment quality issues. The Resources Agencies that review and issue permits for dredging projects have agreed that preparation of a HAMP would help in development of a comprehensive approach that would, in the end, lead to successful permit acquisition. Dredging is at the top of the harbor priorities list, and investment in this integrated, comprehensive plan moves the City toward this goal.
Q. Many problems start uphill from the bay. What about the upland watershed?
A. To ensure that the goals of the HAMP fit into a broader, regional integrated management plan, the HAMP is just one part of a larger Integrated Regional and Coastal Watershed Management Plan (IRCWMP) which is being developed under a $10 million dollar budget. There is a separate City Council Coastal/Bay Water Quality Citizens Advisory committee which is interfacing with development of the IRCWMP.
Q. Do other cities have to use similar tools?
A. In fact, cities around the globe do use similar tools, sometimes called harbor management plans, or special area management plans. A search on Google for “Special Area Management Plan” turns up about 16,000 hits. Other places which have a harbor management plan include Bridgeport, CT; Essex, CT; Stonington, CT; Irondequoit Bay, NY; Newburgh, NY; Chatham, MA; and overseas, Chichester Harbour, West Sussex, UK; and the Hawar Islands Protected Area, Bahrain, UAE. Parts of South Carolina have developed special area management plans.
Q. What is the latest news on the HAMP?
A. At the May 13, 2009 Harbor Commission meeting, the majority of Harbor Commissioners approved the HAMP for further submission to City Council for its approval. In his October Manager's Report to the Harbor Commmission, Harbor Resources Manager Chris Miller reported that the HAMP will finally be presented for City Council adoption on November 9, 2010.
Q. Where may I find a copy of the HAMP?
A. A copy was released for the July 14, 2009 City Council meeting; you will find it, with appendices, on this City web page.
Thanks to Harbor Commissioner Tim Collins and City of Newport Beach Harbor Resources Department for sharing insights on the HAMP.