Saving the Bolsa Chica Timeline

Amigos' 40+ Years of Working for Wetlands


1964-72 FEASIBILITY STUDY OF A SMALL CRAFT HARBOR Congress authorizes US Army Corps of Engineers and Orange County to study the feasibility of a small craft harbor at the Bolsa Chica.


1970 SIGNAL ACQUIRES 2000 ACRES Signal Bolsa Corp. buys the surface right to 2000 acres from the Gun Club heirs for $20 million.

1970 SIGNAL AND THE STATE DISAGREE OVER OWNERSHIP The State claims 528 of the lowland are historic tide and submerged lands. Signal contends these acres are free from the State’s claim since they were conveyed into private ownership by a Mexican rancho grant.

1970-73 SIGNAL AND THE STATE AGREE TO COMPRISE An Inter Agency Task Force is formed and includes the Departments of Fish and Game, Navigation and Ocean Development, and Parks and Recreation plus the Attorney General’s offi ce and State Lands Commission, Dillingham Environmental Company prepares a three volume report entitled “Environmental Evaluation of the Bolsa Chica Area” which serves as environmental baseline for subsequent planning.

1970 Orange County League of Women Voters studies the Bolsa Chica for the Orange County Land Use Plan, and the Huntington Beach Chapter of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) studies the area for The Human Use of Urban Space. Members of these groups and the Huntington Beach Environmental Council met regularly from early 1970 for more than 5 years to discuss the plans and lead tours and public meetings to increase public awareness of the plans and potentials for the area. This led to the creation of a single-purpose organization, Amigos de Bolsa Chica, by 1976.

March 1973 SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT SIGNED The State (Governor Reagan) and Signal sign the “Boundary Settlement and Exchange Agreement Regarding Lands in the Bolsa Chica Area, Orange County, California.” The State acquired 327.5 acres for the public, to be managed by Dept. of Fish and Game, and deeds 1,700 acres to Signal in fee. The agreement includes a two phase wetlands project, with Phase 2 dependent upon the State’s involvement in the development of a marina and navigable ocean entrance.

1974 Burmah Oil purchases drilling right within Bolsa Chica from Signal.


1976 Aminoil Oil purchases rights within Bolsa Chica from Burmah Oil


Organization: (originally printed in The Tern Tide February 1976 Amigos de Bolsa Chica) after some organizational meetings last fall, held its first official meeting at the [Huntington Beach] City Hall on January 15th, elected officers and planned some ways to fulfill its purpose.

Purpose: (originally printed in The Tern Tide February 1976) The purpose of Amigos de Bolsa Chica as stated in Article II of the A.B.C. Constitution is: “to advocate the preservation of the Bolsa Chica and encourage public acquisition and planning to restore it to its natural marsh state surrounded by open space.”

1977 COUNTY ALLOCATES $2 MILLION FOR LINEAR PARK From a feasibility study by the County EMA for a regional park at Bolsa Chica, the County Supervisors approve $2 million for a 185 acre Linear Park bordering 3 sides of the wetlands and connecting Huntington Beach Central Park and Bolsa Chica State Beach.

1977-78 PHASE 1 OF DEPT. FISH AND GAME’S WETLAND RESTORATION Levees are built to enclose 150 acres of the 300 acre State parcel, and the dam which has been closed since the turn of the century is reopened to restore sea water tidal infl uence. Public service facilities (2 parking lots, walk bridge, restrooms and signs) are built. Two sand islands (1.8 and 1.6 acres) are created as nesting habitat for endangered California Least Tern.

City Council Nixes Proposed Annexation
(originally printed in The Tern Tide December 1977)
The Huntington Beach City Council decided at their December 12 meeting to discontinue annexation efforts. This means that the City Council does not plan to procede (sic) with either partial or complete annexation of the Bolsa Chica area to the City of Huntington Beach. The Coastal Commission has designated the County of Orange as the lead agency in developing a Local Coastal Plan (LCP) for the Bolsa Chica area, and the City of Huntington Beach has agreed to cooperate with the County in planning the LCP. Amigos will continue to communicate with the County Planning Staff, as well as the Board of Supervisors, in expressing high priority for the proposed County linear park around three sides of the Bolsa Chica.

Amigos Files Suit
(originally printed in The Tern Tide February 1979)
Amigos de Bolsa Chica fi led suit in the Superior Court of the State of California. The complaint is for:

  • Injunction and civil penalties for fi lling, diking, and degradation of wetlands;
  • A determination that the Bolsa Chica Land Trade violates the California Constitution;
  • A determination that California Public Resources Code 6307 is unconstitutional;
  • An injunction to restrain the construction of dwellings;
  • Civic penalties for violation of the California Coastal Act; and
  • An accounting of all oil revenues derived from public trust tidelands.

1980 SIGNAL’S PREFERRED DEVELOPMENT PLANS Signal’s plans for the Bolsa Chica include 504 acres of high density and 118 acres of heavy density residential, up to 11,249 dwellings, 252 acres commercial development, private and public marinas, re-routing of Pacifi c Coast Hwy inland, a navigable ocean entrance, and a connection to Huntington Harbour. Public cost $124,840,000.

Great Victory – Bolsa Chica Declared Wetlands by State Coastal Commission
(first two paragraphs originally printed in The Tern Tide April 1980)
On March 20, 1980, the California Coastal Commission declared that the Bolsa Chica Lowlands are a wetlands habitat subject to the protections of the Coastal Act. This means that there can be no roads or housing constructed on the Bolsa Chica Wetlands. Clearly, Amigos de Bolsa Chica is rejoicing over this signifi cant decision. Other agencies that had previously identifi ed the Bolsa Chica Gap as wetlands include: California Department of Fish and Game, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The Bolsa Chica Lowlands is an unincorporated area under the jurisdiction of the County of Orange. (It has, however, been designated within the sphere of the infl uence of the City of Huntington Beach.) The wetlands determination by the California Coastal Commission gives direction to the County of Orange in developing their current Local Coastal Plan (LCP). The Commission direction is to develop an LCP around marsh preservation and restoration and eliminate from further consideration the extension of roads and utility lines in the Bolsa Chica Lowlands, as the County had wanted to do. Since the latter uses are not permitted in the wetlands under the Coastal Act, taxpayers’ money will now be saved by the elimination of such studies by the County in their LCP planning.

1980 PART OF AMIGOS LAWSUIT SET ASIDE Unable to continue to fund two simultaneous lawsuits, Amigos ask that the Filling Violations portion of the lawsuit be “dismissed without prejudice” until the Superior Court rules on the Land Trade portion; the Court accepts the request.

Where Do We Stand with the County on Bolsa Chica?
(portions of article originally printed in The Tern Tide January 1982)
Overall, Amigos gained ground with the Board of Supervisors at the December 16, 1981 hearing. Close to 40 people testifi ed at the hearing, and the majority favored restoration of the entire Bolsa Chica lowlands. We went into the hearing with 350 acres of restored marsh and came out of the hearing with 500-550 acres for the restored marsh. Although the Supervisors’ resolution clearly calls for a minimum of 600 acres, the 600 acres are not really delineated on their map, since they included the 63 acres of Outer Bolsa Bay, which will not be there if the marina is built. They also included deep-water channels in front of the waterfront homes as part of the marsh. California Fish and Game testifi ed at the hearing abut their recently released State of the Bolsa Chica Wetlands report. This report identifi es 852 acres as viably functioning and extremely productive wetlands, as well as 440 acres of severely degraded historic wetlands. These fi ndings of Fish and Game, along with the strong protection of wetlands enunciated very clearly in the Coastal Act, will not allow housing and roads to be constructed on wetlands. We were very pleased to hear the Fish and Game report.

(originally printed in The Tern Tide July-August 1981)
Petitions containing over 17,000 signatures to preserve the Bolsa Chica Wetlands were presented to California Resources Secretary Huey Johnson when he spoke to our organization last month. He promised to deliver these petitions to Governor Brown and talk to him about Bolsa Chica. We’re still gathering more signatures and would like to reach 20,000 signatures. Call the Amigos office if you would like more petitions.

1983 US FISH & WILDLIFE: BOLSA CHICA IS A ‘PRODUCTIVE’ WETLANDS US Fish & Wildlife study shows Bolsa Chica productivity compares favorably with Upper Newport Bay and Anaheim Bay.

1983 US ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS STUDY RESULTS The Corps completes their progress report, indicating the proposed navigable entrance is technically feasible.

1983-84 HABITAT CONSERVATION PLAN (SB 429) Governor Deukmejian signs Senate Bill 429 authorizing Dept of Fish & Game and the State Coastal Conservancy to prepare a Habitat Conservation Plan for Bolsa Chica to resolve disputes between Signal, the County, and the Coastal Commission. The resulting LCP calls for a navigable ocean entrance and marina, reroute of Pacifi c Coast Highway, Linear Regional Park, 915 acres of wetlands and 86.8 acres of ESHA’s. The Coastal Commission rejects incorporating it into the County’s LUP.


1984 DEPT OF FISH & GAME WETLANDS DETERMINATION OF 915 ACRES Dept. of Fish & Game reevaluates its 1981 wetlands determination; the new acreage fi gure is 915 acres.


1986 January STATE COASTAL COMMISSION HEARING IN EL SEGUNDO After a full day of public testimony, the Coastal Commission conditionally approves the County adopted LUP and their Staff’s Non- Navigable Plan.


1986 October FEDERAL FUNDS PROVIDED FOR NAVIGABLE ENTRANCE IF FEASIBLE Congress enacts Water Resources Development Act which includes a provision to allow federal loans for a navigable ocean channel at Bolsa Chica if technically and economically feasible.

1987 AMIGOS LAWSUIT AND THE CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT The Amigos awaits a hearing for four years, until in 1987 the Supreme Court decided the case is not properly before them and refuse to hear it. Despite the financial burden, the Amigos Board of Directors decide to re-file the case in Orange County Superior Court in 1987.

1988 SIGNAL COUNTERSUES AMIGOS IN SUPERIOR COURT In August, Signal fi les a countersuit saying the Amigos lawsuit is frivolous and without merit, and seeks payment for attorney fees. Amigos files a demurrer, and in December Commissioner Bauer dismisses Signal’s countersuit.

1988 November BOLSA CHICA PLANNING COALITION FORMED Supervisor Harriett Wieder and Mayor John Erskine form the B.C.P.C. to “prepare an alternative plan to the adopted county Bolsa Chica Land Use Plan for presentation to the County Board of Supervisors and other governmental agencies within 6 months of November 21, 1988.” The 5 core members are Orange County, City of Huntington Beach, Calif State Lands Commission, Signal Landmark and Amigos de Bolsa Chica (represented by Shirley Dettloff and Adrianne Morrison). Support members include the Coastal Commission, Dept of Fish & Game, US Fish & Wildlife Service, EPA, Corps of Engineers, Senator Bergeson’s offi ce, C.A.R.P., Shell Oil, Coastal Conservancy and others. Only alternatives having a non navigable channel will be studied. Joe Bodavitch is hired as Facilitator.

1988 CITY CONSULTANTS ANALYZE W.E.S. RESULTS The City hires coastal engineering consultants to help analyze results from Corps of Engineers’ W.E.S. study. Amigos approve of their independence from Signal.


1989 May COALITION CONCEPT PLAN After 6 months of meetings to evaluate various alternatives, the Coalition formulates the Coalition Plan: Wetlands/ESHS/Open Space of 1,105 acres with a minimum l,000 acres wetlands, no navigable entrance or marina or Huntington Harbour connection, no commercial development, and fewer homes than originally planned. BCPC will continue meeting, develop the Wetlands Restoration Plan and form a non-profit conservancy.

1989 July PHILLIPS MOTION TO DISMISS AMIGOS LAWSUIT In February Phillips Oil asks the court to dismiss Amigos case. In July Judge Rylersdam rules against Phillips motion. Amigos case can now proceed to trial.

1989 August AMIGOS MOTION FILED IN SUPERIOR COURT Amigos file a motion against Signal and Phillips to declare the 1973 Land Trade unconstitutional because it violates California Constitution which prohibits conveyance of tidelands to private parties. They await trial.

1989 September AMIGOS LAWSUIT SETTLED The Amigos settle the lawsuit out of court since many of its goals were reached through the Coalition.


1990 January BOLSA CHICA CONSERVANCY FORMED BY THE COALITION The Conservancy’s goals are education, research, and restoration of Bolsa Chica Wetlands. The Volunteer Scientist Program monitors water quality and wildlife plus helps Dept Fish & Game maintain the Reserve. An Interpretive Center is planned. Former Amigos president Vic Leipzig serves at Executive Director. Ten Coalition members form the Conservancy’s Board of Directors.

1990 June SIGNAL LANDMARK, INC REPLACED BY KOLL COMPANY The Koll Company assumes responsibility for management of Henley Properties Bolsa Chica Project. Mr. Koll agrees to support and follow the Coalition Plan.

1992 "THE RAILING WALL" MURAL COMPLETED A "wetlandscape" measuring 18x39 feet is completed on the parking lot wall of the Amigos Office. Designed by artist Neil Ketchum and assisted by 15 artists who donated over 300 hours, the mural features soaring brown pelicans, a great egret plus shorebirds against a background of mudflats, sand dunes and bluffs.

1994 January DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT The over 1200 page BC EIR has been prepared to respond to proposed Koll project. The 1st draft EIR (1992) was prepared by Army Corps of Engineers. The 2nd EIR was prepared when Koll dropped plans for annexation to the City and requested the County to coordinate the project.

1994 WETLANDS SYMPOSIUM The Amigos and the Bolsa Chica Foundation sponsor a symposium titled "Restoring California's Coastal Wetlands," at Huntington Beach City Hall. On the program were Douglas Wheeler, State Secretary for Resources, Peter Douglas, Executive Director of California Coastal Commission and Michael Fisher, Executive Director of the California Coastal Conservancy. Video tapes are available in our library.

1994 Will you allow Outer Bolsa Bay to be sacrificed?
(Originally printed in The Tern Tide October 1994)
Pristine Outer Bolsa Bay will be decimated by dredging a 50 ft. wide swath from the tidegates to the Warner Bridge. Also riprap will be placed along the perimeter of the marsh adjacent to PCH. Notify the county by Oct. 6 that these “restoration plans” are unacceptable! ** RESTORE THE TIDAL INLET at the south end of the wetlands! ** ** The tidal inlet option must be included in the EIR!**


1995 AMIGOS HONORED BY WILDLIFE SOCIETY WESTERN SECTION The Amigos were chosen as recipients of the coveted 1995 Conservationist of the Year Award. The Wildlife Society is an international organization comprised of over 9000 professional wildlife biologists and ecologists.

1995 PORTS ANNOUNCE PLAN TO ACQUIRE THE BOLSA CHICA WETLANDS Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles and 7 other regulatory agencies agree to acquire the Bolsa Chica Wetlands from the Koll Company. Port funds will be used to restore the wetlands.

1996 CALIFORNIA COASTAL COMMISSION HEARS BOLSA CHICA PLANS The Bolsa Chica Land Use Plan and Restoration Plan were heard before the California Coastal Commission with more than 10 hrs of testimony. The County of Orange agrees to 55 modifications and rejects 33. Amigos board concluded that County plans fulfill their long standing goal of acquisition and restoration of Bolsa Chica Wetlands.

1996 THE COASTAL COMMISSION APPROVES THE LAND USE PLAN for the Bolsa Chica, which was later challenged in court by Bolsa Chica Land Trust. The planning proposal was ordered by the court to be returned to the Coastal Commission for reconsideration.

1997 USING FUNDS FROM THE PORTS OF LOS ANGELES AND LONG BEACH IN EXCHANGE FOR MITIGATION CREDIT, THE STATE ACQUIRES 880 ACRES OF BOLSA CHICA LOWLANDS from Signal, bringing public ownership of Bolsa Chica lowlands to approximately 1200 acres. Out of a total of about $78 million, $25 million went to the purchase, leaving about $53 million and interest earned plus funds from other sources for restoration. Later, the ports provided an additional $24 million to bring their final contribution to $102 million out of the final cost of $148 million.

1997 May BOLSA CHICA RESTORATION STEERING COMMITTEE FORMED Eight state and federal agencies will oversee the restoration of the Bolsa Chica lowlands: California Department of Fish and Game, State Lands Commission, State Coastal Conservancy, the State Resources Agency, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, National Marine Fisheries Service, and the EPA. During the following months, a total of five public meetings are conducted in Huntington Beach to discuss restoration plans.

1997 May SAN DIEGO JUDGE RULES IN FAVOR OF LAWSUIT PROTECTING BOLSA CHICA Filed by the Bolsa Chica Land Trust, the Sierra Club, the Surfrider Foundation, Huntington Beach Tomorrow and the Shoshone Gabrieleño Nation, the suit claimed the Coastal Commission erred in approving development in 185 acres of lowland considered degraded wetland, allowing Warner Pond to be filled, and approving the moving of the eucalyptus ESHA to the Huntington Mesa, and the court agreed.


1997 May AMIGOS ACQUISITION TEAM CONTINUES TO PURSUE PUBLIC ACQUISITION OF THE REMAINING 405 ACRES OF BOLSA CHICA Four hundred and twenty eight acres of the Bolsa Chica are still privately owned, including lowlands and uplands on both the Huntington Mesa (Linear park) and the Bolsa Chica mesa.

1998 November BOLSA CHICA FOUNDATION PUBLISHES JIM ALDRIDGE’S ORAL HISTORY “SAVING THE BOLSA CHICA” The memories of 27 individuals who played roles in saving the Bolsa Chica wetlands are recorded in this 720 page volume.

1999 February HUNTINGTON BEACH CITY COUNCIL ORDERS STUDY OF ANNEXATION OF BOLSA CHICA A determination is to be made whether annexation of the Bolsa Chica to the city benefits the city.

1999 APPEALS COURT UPHOLDS SAN DIEGO COURT DECISION AND ORDERS BOLSA CHICA LCP BACK TO THE COASTAL COMMISSION In agreeing with the May 1997 decision by San Diego Judge Judith McConnell, the appeals court order has directed a new hearing on development in the Bolsa Chica. The decision may have wide impact on development in wetlands throughout the state.


2000 August THE DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT FOR BOLSA CHICA LOWLANDS RESTORATION IS RELEASED FOR PUBLIC COMMENT The document of over 1200 pages proposes 566 acres to be restored with tidal infl uence from a direct opening to the sea. Amigos submits comments in October.

2000 November COASTAL COMMISSION CONSIDERS BOLSA CHICA MESA DEVELOPMENT The commission staff recommends that no development be permitted on the lower bench of the Bolsa Chica Mesa. The commission concurred. Signal/Hearthside subsequently filed a lawsuit contesting the commission’s finding.

2001 April SIGNAL/HEARTHSIDE FILES LAWSUIT AGAINST AMIGOS DE BOLSA CHICA DEMANDING ARBITRATION Landowner claims Amigos failed to abide by provisions in 1989 coalition agreement when Amigos supported the Coastal Commission staff’s recommendations concerning the development on the Bolsa Chica Mesa.


2002 COASTAL COMMISSION GIVES FINAL APPROVAL FOR BOLSA CHICA RESTORATION, finding the restoration plan to be consistent with the Coastal Act.


2002 RESTORATION STEERING COMMITTEE ISSUES ECOLOGICAL RISK ASSESSMENT Document details levels and impacts on wildlife of contamination in the to-berestored wetlands and establishes clean-up criteria.

2003 November CASE AGAINST AMIGOS DISMISSED BY SIGNAL Released Amigos and its members from all of the claims made by it in the arbitration action. This ended a long and tortured battle initiated by Signal following the participation of Amigos in a November 2000 Coastal Commission hearing on the County’s proposed Local Coastal Program (LCP) for Bolsa Chica.


2004 October GROUND BREAKING FOR BOLSA CHICA RESTORATION officiated by Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamonte. Also in attendance: Cathy Green, HB Mayor; Rodney McInnis, NOAA; Lynn Scarlet, Assistant Secretary, Dept. of Interior; Steve Westly, State Controller; Mike Chrisman, Director, State Dept. of Resources; Col. Leonardo Flores, Dep. Commander, US Army Corps of Engineers and dozens of citizens from the community. After the ceremony, the Amigos hosted a luncheon attended by over 300 people who have been involved in the 4 decade struggle to preserve and restore the Bolsa Chica wetlands.


2005 AMIGOS SPONSORS TOWN HALL FORUM ON RESTORATION Detailed update on restoration was presented to a SRO audience.

2005 STATE ACQUIRES 103 ACRES OF THE LOWER BENCH OF THE MESA for $65 million and two small parcels including the 15 acre Ocean View School District parcel.

2006 August 24 Newly constructed tidal inlet is opened at 6:00 am. Crews worked through the night during the low tide to remove the sand dam that stood between the ocean and the Bolsa Chica Lowlands Restoration Project area. For the first time in 107 years, the tide was once again flowing into parts of the Bolsa Chica wetlands that had been cut off from the ocean in 1899. It was an historic occasion for Amigos de Bolsa Chica who have worked for over 30 years to acquire, preserve and restore the wetlands. Amigos, Steering Committee members and many others gathered along the bridge over the inlet to watch. The momentous occasion was commemorated with a champagne toast. See more about the Restoration Project.

2007 March Conference on Bolsa Chica

2007 AMIGOS DE BOLSA CHICA receives the Southern California Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects Public Stewardship Award for promoting natural open space in the Bolsa Chica.

2007 June Amigos receive NOAA Honor

2008 September - First Town Hall Report on the Bolsa Chica Restoration, Two Years Later

2009 April - "Bolsa Chica - Its History from Prehistoric Times to the Present and What Citizen Involvement and Perseverance Can Achieve" by David M. Carlberg is published and the first of several book signings is held.

2009 September - Second Town Hall Report on the Bolsa Chica Restoration, 2006-2009.


2012 October 12 Shea/Parkside Project Approved by Coastal Commission The California Coastal Commission reviewed Shea Homes’ proposed residential development known as Parkside for the third time. The project is to build 111 houses on 26.7 acres of the approximately 50 acre parcel that is off Graham Street, known as The Bean Field by Huntington Beach old-timers. The balance of the property is to be set aside for wetland restoration, wildlife habitat, public parks and trails. The project also includes public restrooms, flood control measures and other public works features. The Commission had postponed action on approving Shea’s Coastal Development Permit (CDP) at their June meeting in order to answer unresolved questions concerning unpermitted filling of wetlands that had occurred over prior years. Shea subsequently agreed to a number of mitigations, including restoring wetlands on the site and also providing mitigation funding for wetland restoration off-site.

The Amigos had sent a letter to the Commission repeating our long-standing vision of considering the entire parcel as part of the Bolsa Chica wetland ecosystem to be left as open space, but if the CDP were approved, that all 27 conditions be included.

The October hearing was relatively low-key compared to previous Bolsa Chica hearings. About a dozen public speakers addressed the commission, including Julie Bixby representing the Bolsa Chica Land Trust, who urged denial of the project based on loss of foraging habitat and possible illegal flood control features. Other speakers supporting or opposing the project were about equally divided. The majority of supporters cited the project’s flood protection improvements. Commission discussion was short, with Commissioners Sanchez and Wickett speaking against the motion to approve the CDP, citing loss of critical coastal habitat. Both Commissioner Zimmer, who moved to approve the CDP, and Commissioner Botchco, who seconded the motion, stated that they did not particularly like the project but that their hands were tied. There were no legal reasons to deny it. With the 27 conditions attached to the CDP, the project was deemed conforming to the Coastal Act. Commissioner Botchco pointed out that all of the time and effort expended on the project were not wasted, that the resulting improvements in the project compared to the initial submission were well worth it. Other commissioners echoed that thought. Approval of the CDP passed with a vote of 6 to 2.

2013 May COASTAL WETLANDER ACTIVITY BOOK WINS NATIONAL AWARD In the national category of "Children's Interactive," Amigos de Bolsa Chica: Coastal Wetlander Activity Book received a bronze medal in the 17th Annual Independent Publisher Book Awards.

2014 January 28 FLOW HOSTS FIRST SCHOOL CLASS After a year of preparing the program, the FLOW Team hosted approximately 40 ninth grade students from Sante Fe High School for an exciting morning filled with water sampling, chemical and microscopic analysis and Bolsa Chica wetlands touring. FLOW team members included Amigos docents and citizen scientists from regular Friday FLOW water quality testing.

2014 May 14, Amigos de Bolsa Chica was officially designated a State Parks Cooperating Association by California State Parks. Until now, Bolsa Chica State Beach, one of the most visited destinations in the state park system, never had a cooperating association assisting with its educational needs and opportunities. Cooperating associations are non-profit charitable organizations dedicated to enhancing the educational and interpretive programs in California State Parks. Collectively the network consists of more than 88 associations serving many of California’s 280 state parks and beaches. These associations, with more than 27,000 members, provide critical funding and volunteers for educational and interpretive needs that are impossible for state parks alone to meet. Associations are related to, but independent of the state parks they serve.


2016 January 19 The Huntington Beach City Council recognized the work of the Amigos de Bolsa Chica for its 40 year commitment to saving, preserving and restoring the Bolsa Chica. Elected officials who presented Amigos with proclamations: Congressman Dana Rohrabacher; Assemblyman Matt Harper; State Senator Janet Nguyen; Orange County Supervisor Michelle Steel; Kelly O’Reilly, Department of Fish and Wildlife; State Controller Betty Yee; and California State Lands Commission.

2016 February 26 Nearly 300 people gathered at the Huntington Beach Central Library for the premiere of a 21 minute documentary, Saving the Bolsa Chica Wetlands. Saving the Bolsa Chica Wetlands is the story of ordinary citizens who set out to achieve something extraordinary: preserving, protecting and restoring the Bolsa Chica Wetlands. The film succinctly captures all of the Amigos’ accomplishments, and with a certain amount of suspense, it looks at how, despite many obstacles, an eclectic group of citizens succeeded in carrying out their mission. Saving the Bolsa Chica WetlandsProduced by Joana Tavares, filmed and directed by Rita Baghdadi and Jeremiah Hammerling.

2016 March Amigos de Bolsa Chica awarded the prestigious Whale Tail grant from the California Coastal Commission for enhancing the FLOW program.

2016 April 30 The Amigos held the Bolsa Chica Science Symposium: Past Successes, Future Challenges at the Huntington Beach Central Library. More than 100 people came to hear speakers that included: Jennifer Lucchesi, Executive Officer, State Lands Commission; Kelly O’Reilly, Department of Fish & Wildlife; Chris Webb, Moffatt and Nichol; Kristy Monji, California Resources; Michael Horn, Cal State Fullerton; Rachel Woodfield, Merkel & Associates; David Pryor, Bolsa Chica Conservancy; and Bob Westerman, California Resources Corporation. Students from the classes of of Daryth Morrisey (Vista View Middle School), Thomas Pfeifer (Segerstrom gh School), and Tanya Murray (Coastline Pfeifer (Segerstrom High School), and Tanya Murray (Coastline College) presented highly professional poster sessions during the lunch break.

2016 August 24 At 11:00 am, over 100 people joined with the Amigos de Bolsa Chica and the California State Lands Commission to celebrate the ten year anniversary of the opening of the tidal inlet. August 24, 2006 had been the day when ocean waters flowed directly into the Bolsa Chica for the first time in 107 years! Many of those in attendance had been at the opening ten years ago to witness the bulldozers pushing the sand berm away from the newly constructed ocean entrance which allowed the tides to return the wetlands.

2016 November 16 Amigos hosted a dinner a Don Ramon's Mexican Restaraunt to recognize docents, citizen scientists and key volunteers who had helped make 2016 (and the past 40 years) so successful. Chuck Dresser was named volunteer of the year.