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The Bolsa Chica Wetlands

The Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve is located near Huntingdon Beach, California off the Pacific Coast Highway. The reserve is a 1200 acre (480 hectare) area adjacent to Inner and Outer Bolsa Bay. The reserve originated as the result of an agreement between the Amigos de Bolsa Chica, a local citizen group, and Signal Bolsa Corporation which owns oil extraction facilities in this area. The operation of the reserve is assisted by the Bolsa Chica Conservancy, a non-profit organization.

Wetlands Restoration

In 1899, access to the ocean was diked off which changed these wetlands into a freshwater marsh since salt marshes need a regular influx of salt water.The original channel silted over. In 1978, new culverts were installed relinking the wetlands to the ocean, returning the area to a salt marsh as it was before the original dike was built.

Due to tidal variations, the water level in Outer Bolsa Bay varies by about 8 feet. The levels in Inner Bolsa vary by 2 to 3 feet. There are two high tides and two low tides daily.

Salt Marsh Interpretive Trail

A 1.5 mile walking trail circles Inner Bolsa Bay and provides good views of the local wildlife. You could see: map

Endangered Species Present Here

Belding's Savannah Sparrow
lives and nests only in pickleweed.
Light-footed Clapper Rail
nests only in cordgrass marshes.
California Least Terns
10% of the world's population is found here.
The Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve is under the protection of the California Department of Fish & Game. See California's Plants and Animals and Marine Life Protection Act for more information.

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