Bolsa Chica was one of the first of Harriet’s places that I visited—long before I had decided on the five projects that I examine in detail in Grand Canyon to Hearst Ranch. Russell and I had stopped at Topanga Canyon and Harmony Headlands State Park before exploring the largest saltwater marsh between Monterey Bay and the Tijuana River in 2011.
Harriet worked long and hard to preserve the Bolsa Chica wetlands beginning in 1992 at the request of Huntington Beach residents. The final deal completed in 1995 involved having the State Lands Commission purchase Bolsa Chica for the benefit of the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in the form of mitigation credits that permitted substantial port expansion. When the Lands Commission refused to deal with ALC and insisted on dealing directly with the landowner, ALC withdrew from the transaction to ensure the conservation of the wetlands.
The Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve is managed by the Bolsa Chica Conservancy. It is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at 3842 Warner Avenue in Huntington Beach, CA. For more details, see the Bolsa Chica Conservancy website, bolsachica.org.