more than three decades of fighting by many local environmentalists.
A tidal inlet cut through the south end of Bolsa Chica State Beach
will allow water to pour in from the ocean and rejuvenate the
long-neglected salt marshes cut off from the ocean by duck hunters
more than 100 years ago.
A Pacific Coast Highway bridge will eventually be constructed over
the inlet channel, and a drain would have to be built between the
wetlands and nearby housing development.
The hope is to preserve the land that is a home to many endangered
species and a stopover for many winged travelers on the Pacific
Led by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife, it will be one of the largest
restoration projects in the western United States. The presentation
included a history of the project, a detailed update on upcoming
plans and an open question and answer forum.
Representatives from U.S. Fish and Wildlife, California Fish and
Game, California State Lands and the National Marine Fisheries packed
into a Huntington Beach Central Library meeting room to discuss the
Construction of the controversial project is set to begin in the
fall of 2004 and take three years to complete, said Jack Fancher,
engineer for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The project will revive the degraded wetlands by releasing tidal
flow from the ocean into the Bolsa Chica, said Shirley Dettloff, a
former councilwoman, coastal commissioner and a founding member of
Amigos de Bolsa Chica who has been fighting to restore and preserve
the Bolsa Chica Wetlands for more than 35 years.
"It's been part of the fabric of our lives," Dettloff said of the
fight to save the Bolsa Chica. "For the most part, [Amigos de Bolsa
Chica] were just people who believed in something, and it grew from a
dream to a reality. ... This is a culmination of years of work on
this project. When I started, I didn't know that we'd reach this
The most hotly debated part of the project is the creation of an
inlet at the south end of the wetlands. Planners looked at various