We will be discussing the importance of maintaining the Wetlands, for the sake Of the environment and the species that inhabit the Wetlands, as some of the species are almost extinct and the battle that exists teen the environmentalists and the Land Development Companies. There is currently a proposed residential development by Hardiest Homes Company that could critically harm the habitat while adding contaminated runoff, traffic and pollution problems associated with additional housing.
There are currently eight state and federal agencies currently involved with the planning and environmental compliance processes necessary to design and obtain regulatory permits for the Restoration Project involving the Bolas Chic Wetlands. This project will provide the best ecologically appropriate estimation for the wetland and all the combined species. History The Wetlands Reserve was formed through an agreement between the Amigos De Bolas Chic and the Signal Bolas Corporation (Bolas Chic Ecological Reserve).
The Bolas Chic Conservancy is a non-profit organization that assists the Operation of the reserve. In 1978, new culverts were installed, and allowed the wetlands to be reconnected to the ocean, which in turn, brought back the salt marsh, as it had been before. In 1 989 the reserves became a freshwater marsh when access to the ocean was dike off, and the salt water was not allowed to influx (Bolas Chic, 2004). In 1992 the Kohl Development Company proposed to build over 4,800 houses on the wetlands, and in response volunteers created The Bolas Chic Land Trust to counter the proposed development.
In 1 993, the Bolas Chic Land Trust group sought support from the Sierra Club to oppose developing the Wetlands. The Bolas Chic Campaign was formed and volunteers met twice weekly to strategies against Kohl Development. In 1 996, the Sierra Club was involved in a lawsuit with the Bolas Chic Land Trust, which challenged the county’s decision for violating the California Coastal Act by approving the Kohl Company’s velveteen of the housing for the Wetlands.
In 1997, the State of California purchased 900 acres Of wetland from Kohl Development, and in 1999, the Land Trust won the Court Appeal decision that protected the Wetlands, termed the “the Bolas Chic Decision,” stating that real estate developers could not disturb the habitat for proceeding with their projects. Hardiest Homes in 2000, tried to create a plan to build 1 ,265 houses on the Wetlands Mesa, and the Coastal Commission voted that the 1,265 houses would be allowed to be built on the upper bench of the Mesa, but as a tradeoff the rower bench or Wetlands could not be touched.
In 2002 Proposition 50 passed stating that the state purchases “no less than 100 acres of the Bolas Chic Mesa. ” In 2004, State Lands Commission agreed to purchase 103 acres of the lower bench of the Wetlands with the contingency, that the Coastal Commission approves Heath side’s plan to build 379 houses on reduced parcel of 65 acres on the upper bench. In 2005, 1 18 acre portion of Bolas Chic was purchased by the State of California for $65 million with funds from Proposition 50.
What are Wetlands? Generally, wetlands are lands where saturation with water is the dominant actor determining the nature of soil development and the types of plant and animal communities living in the soil and on its surface (California wetland, 1998). “In addition, the term wetlands means those areas that are inundated or saturated by surface Water or groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions.
Wetlands may be covered periodically or permanently with shallow water and which includes saltwater marshes, freshwater marshes, open or closed rakish water marshes, swamps, mudflats, fens, and vernal pools (California wetland, 1998). Wetlands are also places where children and biologist can go and learn about the environment, while providing a home for many types of habitat and creatures that have slowly disappeared as development erases history. Why Should Wetlands Be protected?
Such areas need to be protected, because as developers continue to build homes in the vicinity, many of the animals that have lived there many years are forced to move because they have no place to go. Wetlands are more than just a place for habitat; they also protect the environment in such a way hat filters and cleans water, prevent soil erosion, and provide flood control among numerous other benefits (California wetland, 1998). Developers must understand and see beyond the dollar signs because as they continue construction in the area they are destroying part of history and wildlife.
In addition, general public need to protect wetlands because it enhances marine habitat for the costal areas providing more resources of fish.
- The increased quality and quantity of open water and inter-tidal mudflat habitats would provide habitat for migratory shorebirds, seabirds, and waterfowl.
- A lately and diverse aquatic community Of marine and estuarine invertebrates and fishes would become established in the full and muted tidal basins.
- The full tidal basin would provide nursery habitat for the California halibut.
- Nesting habitat for the state- and federal-listed endangered California least tern and the federal-listed threatened western snowy plover would be increased. Additionally, these areas would provide nesting habitat for a variety of other water-associated birds.
- Cord grass habitat would expand and is expected to support nesting by the state- and federal-listed endangered light-footed clapper rail.
- Pickle weed salt marsh habitat would be enhanced.
- Nesting territory for the state-listed endangered Belting’s Savannah sparrow would expand.
- Increased quality of salt marsh vegetation may improve habitat value for the salt marsh shrew.
- A diverse wetlands ecosystem would result from the preservation of non tidal habitats including seasonal ponds/sand flats and perennial brackish ponds.
- upgrades to the Lowlands would indirectly benefit surrounding land uses by providing improved passive use and visual enhancement. 1 1) New and enhanced public access opportunities would result.
- The tidal inlet Cord grass habitat would expand.
- Addition of construction jobs and increases in visitors to the area could benefit the local economy.
- The tidal influence would reduce the potential for mosquito problems (Coastal Conservancy, 2004).
What happens to the wetlands if not preserved/restored? It is vital for California to preserve its wetlands because it is a source of fresh water for many species that inhabit the land. Many of the species are unique to the wetlands and without it they cannot sustain life and will vanish. In the asses’ and 1 9705′ in California, many of our wetlands were developed due to regress and arbitration, leaving roughly 10 percent of the states wetlands undeveloped (EPA 2006).
This was in part due to ignorance and not knowing the environmental damage and impact on the life that inhabits the wetlands. There are two types of wetlands: coastal and inland. The Bolas Chic is considered to be a coastal and would generally be described as a marsh, bog, or swamp (Watersheds 2004). Oil drilling will continue its presence and along with that the continued contamination of soil and vegetation that surrounds the wells. The IS. S. Fish & Wildlife had an ERA (Ecological Risk Assessment) and determined that significant damage to plant and wildlife was thriving and will continue presenting a risk if changes were not made.
Food chain exposure is the term used by the U. S. Fish & Wildlife, which basically means; the rodent eats the contaminated vegetation and the bird eats the rodent who has eaten the vegetation. The water runoff from the contaminated soil comes in contact with the fish and the fish are eaten by the birds. As you can see it’s a cycle that will continue unless the wells are capped and the soil cleaned. It is imperative that we preserve and restore the Bolas Chic wetlands for he near extinct species that will make a thriving comeback and also to sustain the plant and animal life that already exist.
Restoring the Bolas Chic wetlands will allow a sanctuary for the many birds that migrate south to nest and breed to create life and to keep its species thriving. The goal is to return the wetlands to its pre-1900 condition as a major wildlife stop where millions of birds travel, to rest, feed, and nest (Greengages 2006). The species that inhabit the Wetlands Each year millions of shore birds and waterfowl migrate along North America’s western coastline; this is called The River of Migrating Birds (Bolas 2004).
The migration creates a river of birds stretching between North American breeding areas and South American wintering areas. It is called the Pacific Flyaway and is one of four major migratory bird pathways (Bolas 2004). If the Bolas Chic wetlands are not preserved and restored, birds that migrate to South America for the winter will have a lesser chance of reaching their final destination. In the united States over one-third of its endangered species live only in wetlands, and almost half use wetlands at some point in their lives (Watersheds 2006).
There are many other plants and animals that depend on wetlands for their survival. For example estuarine and marine fish and shellfish, various birds and certain mammals depend on coastal wetlands for their survival. Most commercial and game fish breed and raise their young in these marshes and estuaries (EPA 2006). Menhaden, flounder, sea trout, spot, croaker, and striped bass are some of the more popular fish the largely rely on coastal wetlands. Shrimp, oysters, clams, and blue and Denseness crabs need wetlands for food, shelter, and for their breeding grounds.
Migratory waterfowl use coastal and inland wetlands as resting, feeding breeding, and nesting grounds for at least part of the year. What are the environmental factors? In 1 996 the City of Huntington Beach adopted a General Plan, it was the comprised of 1 6 separate elements. They consist of: cultural resources, economic development, and growth of management and public facilities to increase environmental recourses as well as increase air quality, coastal usage also to reduce the noise and hazardous materials. Wetlands, like rain forest and coral reefs, are as important in simulating oxygen and carbon cycles.
The California Coastal Commission estimates that a healthy salt marsh produces five to ten times as much oxygen and equivalent carbohydrates per Cree as a wheat field. This circulation from the bases of the wetlands produces the food web. The food is consumed by hundreds of species, creating a vast food web from fish, birds, to humans. From his book “Bring Back Wetlands,” wetlands expert Bill Stresses writes “Wetlands can reduce the effect Of floods by temporarily storing floodwater and detaining the flow of water through the sponging effect of the soil and the barrier effect of vegetation.
After absorbing and detaining this water, wetlands slowly release it. ” Shirley Doolittle, an environmentalist and former Huntington Beach inoculation and former State Coastal Commission member said, ‘This is the group that has believed in this project for thirty years, and to hopefully see this project become a reality will truly be a dream come true. ” While the former councilwomen along with the citizens were very’ excited about the possibility of restoring the wetlands, you could still find others opposing and protesting this event.