Known to locals as the Back Bay, the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve and Ecological Reserve draws naturalists and scientists from around the world. Some 35,000 migratory birds and 200 endangered species make their home on the 1,000 acres of coastal wetlands, which also offer hiking and cycling trails and amazing aquatic activities – from kayaking to stand-up paddleboarding – for nature lovers and outdoors enthusiasts.
A recent ecosystem restoration project around the Newport Back Bay removed tons of sediment and helped promote tidal circulation while limiting predator access to sensitive areas. Some of the threatened and endangered species include the salt marsh bird’s beak, brown pelican, California black rail, coastal California gnatcatcher, and Belding’s savannah sparrow. Newport Back Bay flows into the Newport Beach Harbor, which meets up with the Pacific Ocean.