Written by Mike Armstrong Everybody knows something about the California Condor: endangered, awesome and so on. But this article is about one of his relatives...
Community-based Habitat Restoration Volunteering
The mission of the Bolsa Chica Land Trust is the acquisition, preservation, and restoration of all of Bolsa Chica and the education of the public to its natural wonders and cultural significance.
The Land Trust is working to acquire and protect the last threatened 11 acres at Bolsa Chica to save a unique archaeological site and precious open space habitat.
The Land Trust’s Bolsa Chica Stewards have been working since 1996 on the Mesa habitat restoration project. Over 15,000 volunteers have helped heal our local environment.
Bolsa Chica needs constant and well planned care to keep its habitats functioning and healthy. Saving it is just the start, caring for it is part of our commitment.
The Land Trust conducts educational programs to build awareness about the role of the Bolsa Chica wetlands system in the natural and urban environment, and tell the story of its rich history.
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We Are Back!
With permission from the CA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, BCLT has restarted our community volunteer workdays! There are a few changes, now volunteers need to pre-register with us and our workdays are capped at 40 participants for the time being.
Our free public tours will be starting up again in July. For more information please call the office at 714-846-1001 or email Kim at Kim@BCLandTrust.org
Call to Action
Contained within the printed version of our Summer 2021 newsletter is a postcard to CDFW Director Charlton Bonham requesting that a dedicated CDFW Warden be assigned to the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve to address the illegal actions that are damaging the habitats and wildlife that the Reserve was established to protect. If you did not receive a printed copy of the newsletter, you can take action by emailing Director Bonham at https://wildlife.ca.gov/Director/Email or send a letter to him at:
California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Director Charlton Bonham
P.O. Box 944209
Sacramento, CA 94244-2090
We are asking our community to help us protect the birds and animals that depend on the safety of Bolsa Chica. The Reserve has seen a significant increase of people breaking the Reserve Rules by bringing bikes, dogs, and drones to Bolsa Chica, which scare and threaten the wildlife. A CDFW Warden dedicated to Bolsa Chica will be significant in addressing these behaviors and may help to prevent another tragedy like the Reserve experienced this Spring.
Every voice is needed, please contact Director Bonham and request a Warden at Bolsa Chica today. If you need more information, please contact our Executive Director, Kim Kolpin at Kim@bclandtrust.org and (714) 846-1001.
Many of you may be seeing mailers and videos promoting the Poseidon desalination plant. Poseidon is working on acquiring the required permits to build its desalinization plant adjacent to the AES power plant on Pacific Coast Highway here in Huntington Beach. BCLT is an environmental organization, and although our primary focus is on Bolsa Chica, it and our coastal environment are forever linked. As such, we at BCLT are very concerned about threats to our coastal environment, including the impacts projected to be caused directly from a fully functioning Poseidon desalinization plant. The ocean is the life blood of Bolsa Chica, and we will not support any project that threatens our ocean wildlife. The Poseidon plant is expected when operational to create a 421.4 acre dead zone, or “area of production forgone” as it is described in the permitting documents. As for the mitigation that Poseidon is stating that they will give to Bolsa Chica – yes, Bolsa Chica is in need of considerable and continuing funding, the damage that people inflicted on Bolsa Chica for over one hundred years left it in need of significant care. BCLT is working hard with the State and Federal agencies involved in the oversight of our wetlands to help identify ways to care for Bolsa Chica in a more fiscally sustainable manner without compromising on biological diversity, and without creating dead zones in our fragile coastal ecosystems.
Good afternoon my name is Kim Kolpin and I am the Executive Director of the Bolsa Chica Land Trust. BCLT’s position is that we are in opposition of the proposed Poseidon plant due to the environmental damage it would cause. We are thankful to the State Lands Commission for looking for every opportunity to bring needed funding to Bolsa Chica. There is no doubt that the lowlands of Bolsa Chica are in increasingly dire need of support and some amount of dredging will be required to continue to keep the tidal inlet open and lowlands healthy into the future. However, we agree with the presentation that the environmental coalition presented yesterday opposing this project.
Is this project worth the cost of killing marine life for decades? BCLT says no. Our coastal environment is precious and, and we are opposed to projects that would harm it.
BCLT is partnering with the steering committee for Bolsa Chica on a Sustainabilities Alternative Study for the tidal inlet and lowlands which will identify measures that can be taken to relieve some of the maintenance burden while retaining the biodiversity of the wetlands. That study is due to be completed by the end of this year.
The Army Corps of Engineers is currently working on a plan for the Westminster Flood Control channel, which would increase the ability to move rainwater to the ocean more quickly, with no water retention capabilities planned. The lack of vision on how to best use water sources within the county is very disappointing.
I also must state that on behalf of BCLT’s Board and 5,000 community members, we find it so very offensive that Mr. Maloni and Poseidon are calling this project an ‘environmental enhancement project’ and that they are portraying themselves as the ‘savior’ of Bolsa Chica. Far too many people, over the course of decades, have worked tirelessly to save, support the restoration of, and preserve the wildlife habitats at Bolsa Chica. Poseidon is only focused on Bolsa Chica because they have to mitigate for the environmental damage their plant would cause, not because they care.
Tern Nesting Islands Restoration Project
The two Tern Nesting Islands are critical habitat and serve 13 avian species including the endangered California Least Tern and Western Snowy Plover. The islands are more than 40 years old and currently are degraded and under immediate threat of flooding caused by extreme tides and sea-level rise. The Bolsa Chica Land Trust is proud to be able to start the process of restoring these habitats to improve their resiliency in the event of flooding.
Funding for this project comes from a $135,000 Prop. 68 Pacific Flyway conservation grant administered by the Wildlife Conservation Board.