Executive Director’s Report Spring 2019

As always, the Bolsa Chica Land Trust is busy!  We began 2019 in the midst of a strong fundraising period.  We are truly appreciative of everyone who donates and supports BCLT.  Thanks to you, we will continue our fantastic projects and programs: the Stewards’ habitat restoration of the Mesa, the Miracles of the Marsh 3rd grade education program, our free monthly public tours, our live Eco Cam and, of course, our effort to acquire the Ridge and Goodell properties.

Your support keeps our office humming, with the lights on and computers purring.  There is much that goes on behind the scenes which is integral to BCLT’s continuing success.  One example: in February we posted a Request for Proposal for a $300,000 Lowlands Sustainability Alternatives Planning Document.  BCLT is partnering with the Steering Committee for Bolsa Chica (comprised of representatives from the California State Lands Commission, California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, State Coastal Conservancy, Resources Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, National Marine Fisheries Service, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) to hire an engineering firm to study the present condition and effectiveness of Bolsa Chica’s tidal inlet and adjoined wetlands.

The inlet and restored wetlands have been a huge success, with an impressive range of biodiversity and healthy habitats thriving over 947 acres formerly covered with oil wells.  However, there are issues with sand buildup in the inlet and the larger wetland area.  The sand impacts the depth and flow of the water, and the dredging required to remove it is very expensive — millions of dollars have been spent on it. BCLT was asked to help address this issue and, thanks to the firm foundation of support our membership gives us, we were able to take on this problem. BCLT applied for and was awarded a grant for this project from Prop. 1 funds (the state bond approved by voters in November 2014). We are pleased that we can bring this bond funding to Bolsa Chica.

The study will identify design alternatives to address the sedimentation in the wetlands, examine engineering solutions to lessen sedimentation rates, and also include sea-level rise adaptation based on the most current predictions.  It will lay out a plan for the future of these wetlands and for all of the amazing wildlife that are dependent on it.  Once the study is completed, BCLT will take the lead in securing the funding needed to implement the alterations identified as a solution.

BCLT is committed to supporting these large sustainability projects for the future of Bolsa Chica and is thankful to the Steering Committee members for allowing us to partner on this incredibly important project.  Stay tuned … we will keep you updated on our progress in future newsletters!

photo: Roy Holden

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