Agenda Item   



                                                                                                                        ASR Control  21-000383




legal entity taking action:

Board of Supervisors

board of supervisors district(s):


SUBMITTING Agency/Department:

OC Community Resources   (Approved)

Department contact person(s):

Dylan Wright (714) 480-2788 



Stacy Blackwood (949) 923-3743



Subject:  Extend Upper Newport Bay Marine Life Documentary Project Funding Agreement


      ceo CONCUR

County Counsel Review

Clerk of the Board


Approved Agreement to Form

Consent Calendar



3 Votes Board Majority




    Budgeted: N/A

Current Year Cost: N/A

Annual Cost: N/A




    Staffing Impact:


# of Positions:

Sole Source: N/A

    Current Fiscal Year Revenue: N/A

  Funding Source: N/A

County Audit in last 3 years: No



    Prior Board Action: 12/17/2019 #7, 6/17/2008 #12




Approve the First Amendment to the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve Marine Life Documentary Project Funding Agreement with the Newport Bay Naturalists and Friends to extend the term through December 31, 2021.







Approval of the First Amendment to the Marine Life Documentary Project Funding Agreement with the Newport Bay Naturalists and Friends will support public education and natural resource protection at the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve.






Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve (Preserve), in the City of Newport Beach, contains approximately 1,000 acres of open space and is one of the largest remaining natural coastal estuaries in Southern California. The Preserve is home to several endangered or threatened native species, such as the California gnatcatcher, San Diego cactus wren and burrowing owl and contains important grassland and coastal sage scrub habitat. During winter migration, up to 35,000 birds may use the Preserve at any one time, making the Preserve a renowned bird watching location. The Preserve has been supported since 2000 by the Newport Bay Naturalists and Friends (Naturalists) nonprofit organization. On June 17, 2008, the Board of Supervisors (Board) approved an agreement with the Naturalists to formalize their already existing partnership.


In August 2019, the Naturalists proposed a Marine Life Documentary Project (Project), an aquatic documentary film based in and around the Preserve and Newport Harbor to provide contextualized storytelling of aquatic life and the various habitats that exist in the area. The film was planned to include scenes in kelp forests, shallows, mudflats and brackish waters, and will include narration in English, Spanish and in closed captions for the hearing impaired. The Project will be used as an educational video for visitors at the Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center theater located within the Preserve and in various tours and interpretive programs conducted at the Preserve.


On December 17, 2019, the Board approved the Funding Agreement (Agreement) for the Project, which allows for up to $100,000 in funding for the Naturalists to produce the documentary film (including writing, directing, filming and editing of the film). The County will own the film and the final edit will be subject to County approval. Consistent with the 2008 partnership agreement, which states that the Naturalists are to expend “funds raised for Preserve development and research projects in a manner that results in improved public access, educational opportunities and resource management practices,” the Naturalists are also providing an additional $20,000 toward the Project.


State and local orders were issued in March 2020 that modified business operations as a public health precaution to minimize impacts of COVID-19. These orders have included stay-at-home restrictions and the suspension of non-essential activities, including filming, which impacted and significantly delayed the schedule for the Project. Although filming of the Project has now been completed, additional time beyond the June 30, 2021, Agreement end date is being requested to properly compile and edit the filmed material and finalize the script, voiceover, sound mixing and translations for the documentary. To allow for sufficient time to conclude work on the Project, OC Community Resources/OC Parks requests Board approval of the First Amendment to the Agreement (Attachment B), to extend the Agreement term through December 31, 2021, with no change or increase to the funding amount of up to $100,000.


Compliance with CEQA: This action is not a project within the meaning of CEQA Guidelines Section 15378 and is therefore not subject to CEQA, since it does not have the potential for resulting in either a direct physical change in the environment or a reasonably foreseeable indirect physical change in the environment. The approval of this agenda item does not commit the County to a definite course of action in regard to a project since it involves an amendment to the funding agreement for producing, including writing, directing, filming and editing, of a documentary to support public education and natural resource protection. This proposed activity is therefore not subject to CEQA. Any future action connected to this approval that constitutes a project will be reviewed for compliance with CEQA.





No additional funds beyond the $100,000 previously approved by the Board in 2019 are being requested. Appropriations for the Project are included in the Fund 106, Newport Tidelands FY 2020-21 Budget, designated for County Tidelands/Newport Bay expenditures.









Attachment A – First Amendment to Funding Agreement
Attachment B – Documentary Project Funding Agreement – Redline