Bolsa Chica Wetlands Restoration

Location: Orange County

Project Type: Restoration

Status: Completed

Habitat Type: Restoration, Tidal Wetland

Date Completed: 6/25/2008

Cost: $144,000,000

Area Affected: 1240 acres

Assembly District: 74

Senate District: 34

Congressional District: 48

Project Lead/Grantee:
US Fish and Wildlife Service (Jack Fancher, Jane Hendron 760-432-9440)

The Bolsa Chica wetlands are located in Orange County, surrounded by the City of Huntington Beach. This project is one of the largest wetland restoration projects to be constructed in southern California. Approximately 370 acres were re-introduced to full tidal influence. The project also improved muted tidal circulation to 200 acres, retained 120 acres of seasonal pond habitat, and reserved 252 acres for future full tidal restoration when oil field operations terminate in 15-20 years. Most of the affected area has been isolated from the ocean since 1900 and was used for oil production for the past 65 years.

Project elements included buying out certain oil production facilities, recreating a tidal channel and stabilizing it with short jetties, pre-filling an offshore sandbar and augmenting the volume of beach sand, dredging a tidal basin, bolstering perimeter levees, installing a French drain and pump system, forming upland islands, improving culverts between new tidal basin and muted tidal area, building a bridge on Pacific Coast Highway (including pedestrian and bicycle lanes separate from vehicle traffic lanes) and an oil field access bridge to span the new tidal channel, and setting aside an endowment for operation and maintenance.

The project site lies adjacent to the Department of Fish and Game’s Ecological Reserve and adjacent to Bolsa Chica State Beach.