SPON’s mission is rooted in actively advocating for the preservation of our natural environment and open spaces, and improving the quality of life in our cherished coastal community. Over the past 50 years, SPON’s advocacy work has resulted in:
• Limiting the number of flights and passengers using Orange County Airport and maintaining the nighttime curfew
• Stopping a coastal freeway from dividing Newport Beach in two
• Limiting the height of buildings ringing the waterfront
• Keeping the Upper Bay an undeveloped and natural estuary
• Providing adequate numbers of pump-out stations for boats
• Requiring housing developers to dedicate land for public parks
• Promoting a cleaner Bay and stopping inland nurseries from releasing algae-producing nutrients that run into the Bay
• Convincing the Irvine Company to dedicate open space around the Upper Bay
• Requiring developments that generate traffic to improve traffic flow on streets and intersections
• Keeping our beaches and the Bay clean with periodic clean-up events
You can read more details about SPON’s accomplishments below:
John Wayne Airport
Settlement Agreement – SPON, the City of Newport Beach and the Airport Working Group sued the County over increasing impacts from JWA, resulting in limitations on operations, noise levels, and the number of annual passengers.
Clean Water Initiatives
Local Coastal Plan – SPON’s recommendations to the Coastal Commission resulted in a local Coastal Plan.
Treated Wastewater Release - SPON actively supported Defend the Bay’s opposition to the Irvine Ranch Water District’s plan to release treated wastewater into Newport Bay.
Back Bay Estuary - SPON sued the City over their plan to expand Newport Center, resulting in the preservation of 80 acres of the Upper Bay by the Irvine Company.
Water Quality, Algae – SPON worked to identify the source of algae blooms in the Bay and convinced upstream nurseries to recycle their fertilizer runoff.
Water Quality, Ocean Discharges - SPON fought sewage treatment plant waivers from the Clean Water Act requirements resulting in strict sewage treatment prior to discharge.
Water Quality Initiatives - To prevent Bay and Harbor contamination, SPON worked to: require holding tanks on boats, increase the number of Harbor pump-out stations, require restrooms in marinas, limit the number of mooring “live-aboards”, and educate the public on pollution prevention.
Citizens’ Water Quality Advisory Committee – SPON’s advocacy resulted in this Committee’s formation, now called the Water Quality and Tidelands Committee.
Bay Beautiful Week - SPON organized an on-going community-wide trash clean-up of the Bay. Clean-up efforts were later assumed by the Chamber of Commerce.
Environment and Parks
Environmental Engagement - SPON monitored the Western Snowy Plover Management Plan and the lower Big Canyon Renovation Plan.
Environmental Nature Center - SPON was instrumental in raising funds for the Center’s current facilities.
Newport Bay View Park - SPON successfully advocated for the use of native vegetation.
Measure L - SPON gathered signatures to defeat Measure L, which would have approved a hotel at the publicly owned Marina Park. Instead, an aquatic park was born.
Measure A - SPON’s initiative to purchase Castaways, Newport North & Bayshore Landing lead to the Irvine Company donating Castaways Park to the City in exchange for development rights.
Touch of Green - SPON formed this Committee to save Cliff Drive Park and the Avon Street wetlands. Both exist today and the Cliff Park views are breathtaking.
Park Ordinance - SPON provided support for a park ordinance requiring five acres of park per one thousand new residents.
Open Space Preservation
Southland Regional 30 x 30 Coalition – SPON joined this group to work on preserving 30% of California’s land and coastline by 2030.
Private Encroachments – SPON actively supported the Coastal Commission’s mandate to remove illegal private property encroachments on Balboa Peninsula’s public beaches.
Banning Ranch Conservancy - SPON provided matching grants to educate the public about Banning Ranch, the last open space along the Orange County coast. The 400-acre parcel, renamed the Randall Preserve, is being converted to a nature park.
Green Vision Project – SPON worked with the Friends of Harbors, Beaches and Parks to identify land for wildlife access, and open spaces for recreation. The Green Vision is an element of the current 30 x 30 Project.
Newport Bay Conservancy - SPON formed Friends of the Bay – which became the Newport Bay Conservancy – to obtain and preserve open space.
Friends of Newport Coast – SPON joined the Friends of Newport Coast to save the coast between Newport Beach and Laguna Beach from over-development.