Amigos de Bolsa Chica tours

 

Amigos de Bolsa Chica Volunteers for the Wetlands

 

Huntington Beach, Calif.--Amigos de Bolsa Chica provide monthly free tours of the Wetlands at the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve in Huntington Beach.


Stewards of Orange Countyy's protected and valued open spaces aren't limited to one group or organization. Amigos de Bolsa Chica, however, is one of the clubs dedicated to educating the public about the Bolsa Chica wetlands in Huntington Beach. Amigos de Bolsa Chica (Friends of the Small Pocket, referring to the pocket of land or table of land sitting on a plateau above the ocean) are advocates working to preserve, restore, and maintain one of the remaining open space ecologically-sensitive flyways for endangered birds along the West Coast of the United States.  As one of the oldest, successful environmental preservation organizations in California, its corps of dedicated volunteers al share a passion for this natural resource in Huntington Beach.

Formed in 1976 to protect the Bolsa Chica wetland which was slated for development to include a marina, the non-profit organization filed a lawsuit to protect the property and their success in 1989 achieved major reductions in development plans. Today, they Amigos de Bolsa Chica organization doesn't rest. It tirelessly works to educate the public about the need for wetlands. One of its most popular programs is the monthly guided tour around the wetlands loop trail.


Held the first Saturday of each month, this docent-led tour includes the Bolsa Chica Story. On the first Saturday of each month from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., our docents gather at the south lot of the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, across the street from the main entrance to Bolsa Chica State Beach. Tours are stationed on the footbridge, a truly magnificent entrance to the restored Bolsa Chica wetlands. Tours begin every 15 minutes and five areas of interest are included in the presentation: history, birds, endangered species, ecology and restoration. This is a free tour on a first come, first served basis. This is a wonderful opportunity for vacationers, students, small groups and local citizens to visit our valuable resource.


Most recently, the Amigos spearheded an effort that resulted in the state's acquisition in 1997 of 880 acres of wetlands with principal funds provided by the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. With an additional 41 acres purchased by the state in 2005, the public now owns over 1200 acres of wetland/lowland. The Amigos de Bolsa Chica is closely monitoring the wetland restoration project and future wetland management. The $110 million Bolsa Chica lowland restoration project, financed almost entirely by the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach as part of the mitigation for their expansion, opened to much fanfare from the press and public on August 24, 2006.
If you are interested in becoming a member or
volunteering in a variety of capacities,
please contact the Amigos de Bolsa Chica at:
Phone / Fax 714.840.1575
Email: [email protected]
The mailing address for
Amigos de Bolsa Chica is:
P.O Box 1563
Huntington Beach, CA 92647

Amigos Accomplishments and Activities Amigos' Goals for the Future

The Amigos are proud of their accomplishments since the organization's formation in 1976. Past accomplishments and activities include:

•Preventing the construction of a massive marina and
commercial/residential development at Bolsa Chica through
persistent litigation and lobbying efforts.

•Sponsoring technical workshops for Federal, State and local
officials on the value of wetlands.

•Sponsoring general information meetings to keep the public
up to date on acquisitions and restoration in the Bolsa Chica.

•Developing and maintaining close relationships with elected
representatives at the local, state and federal level.

•Publishing a 700 page oral history of the Bolsa Chica.

•Attending and often speaking before all hearings of Coastal
Commission that involved the Bolsa Chica.

•Speaking before city and county planning commissions and
city council and county board of supervisors on matters that
affect the Bolsa Chica.

•Testifying at legislative committee hearings in Sacramento
regarding coastal protection, wetlands and wildlife legislation.

•Monitoring plans for nearby development that would impact on
the Bolsa Chica wetlands and providing written and oral
comments to permitting agencies.

•Sponsoring a major letter writing campaign in support of the
State Lands Commission's acquisition of 880 acres of Bolsa
Chica wetlands in 1997.

•Providing written and oral comments to state and federal
agencies regarding the design and implementation of the
Bolsa Chica Wetlands restoration plans.

•Monitoring the Bolsa Chica lowlands restoration project.
•Highlights from "The Conference on Bolsa Chica: The Work Isn't Finished" March 24, 2007



The Amigos have worked hard for many years but there is much work left to do. We hope that you will take part through membership, donations, and support of public officials who protect our vital resources. Maintaining and restoring coastal wetlands is essential to our ecosystem. Please join us in cooperation with other governmental and environmental organizations in reaching our goals for the future, which include:

•Monitor additional wetlands protection legislation at the state
and federal levels.

•Monitor the completion of the restoration project at
Bolsa Chica.

•As a member of the Local Advisory Task Force body on
wetland management, assure the establishment of an effective
management structure for the Bolsa Chica.

•Installation of information displays in key locations in the
Bolsa Chica.

•Public acquisition of additional open space on the
Bolsa Chica lowlands, uplands and other surrounding privately
held properties.

•Provisions for public access to the newly restored
Bolsa Chica Wetlands consistent with wildlife protection.

•Construction and operation of a permanent interpretive center
to educate the public on the value of the Bolsa Chica and
other coastal wetlands.

Amigos de Bolsa Chica Board of Directors

President: Dave Carlberg
Vice President: Jennifer Robins
Secretary: Alma Bowman
Treasurer: Brian Westcott
Immediate Past President: Thomas Anderson
Directors:
Margaret Carlberg
Shirley Dettloff
Craig Frampton
Bob Harrison
Vic Leipzig
Tom Livengood
Mel Nutter
Patty Overley
Jamie Pavlat
Jim Robins



When is the "best time" to tour Bolsa Chica? ANYTIME! Year-round wildlife includes saltmarsh plants, tall egrets and herons, horn snails and crabs, with the occasional sightings of white pelicans, peregrine falcon, and northern herrier. The winter months (especially November through March) offer high concentrations of migratory waterfowl and shorebirds such as pintails, western grebes, willets and godwits, sandpipers, and many more. Up to 70 different species may be counted on a winter day! In the summer months, visitors can observe up close endangered species such as the California Least Tern and Belding's Savannah Sparrow; watch stilts and avocets raising their chicks around the parking lot and loop trail; and look at stingrays and sea hares in the waters below the walkbridge.

The Bolsa Chica includes over 1200 acres of undeveloped wetlands, lowlands and lower mesa. This area is rich with history beginning with the Native Americans who lived atop the mesas to the oil production in the twentieth century. The Bolsa Chica is also an important stop for migratory birds along the Pacific Flyway, including some endangered species and threatened species. More than 200 species of birds have been sighted at Bolsa Chica. For educators who teach graders 1, 3, 4, and 6, a tour of Bolsa Chica helps them meet the state life science standards required for these grade levels. For the higher grade levels, a tour of Bolsa Chica can help teach your students how getting involved in your local community can promote positive environmental changes that impact all of us. For scout groups, a tour of Bolsa Chica can help them earn various badges and achievements. All Amigos de Bolsa Chica tours are led by docents trained in uniquely designed Bolsa Chica coursework.

To reserve a docent led tour of the Bolsa Chica Wetlands, Call (714) 840-1575, or e-mail: [email protected]

The FIRST SATURDAY TOUR offers an exceptional on-site presentation of the Bolsa Chica Story. On the first Saturday of each month from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., our docents gather at the south lot of the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, across the street from the main entrance to Bolsa Chica State Beach. Tours are stationed on the footbridge, a truly magnificent entrance to the restored Bolsa Chica wetlands. Tours begin every 15 minutes and five areas of interest are included in the presentation: history, birds, endangered species, ecology and restoration. This is a free tour on a first come, first served basis. This is a wonderful opportunity for vacationers, students, small groups and local citizens to visit our valuable resource.

The FOOTBRIDGE LECTURE TOUR is similar in nature to our First Saturday Tour program except this is a reserved private tour for one group. Cost for this tour is $1/person, $25 minimum. Tours are approximately 1 to 1 ¼ hours in length. Maximum tour size is 80 people. This tour is popular with school groups, scouts, birders, and first-time visitors to Bolsa Chica. This tour is also recommended for visitors with special needs and our younger visitors.

The MESA TOUR offers an opportunity for visitors to hike the Mesa Trail while listening to the Bolsa Chica Story. For those who have visited Bolsa Chica before and love an adventure, this is a way to enjoy the area from a different point of view. Overlooking the Bolsa Chica lowlands, Bolsa Chica State Beach and the Pacific Ocean, the Mesa provides a dramatic view of the entire ecosystem. The Mesa has been of particular interest to archaeologists who have found various artifacts from Native American cultures that are several thousand years old. Visitors must park at the north lot of the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve on Warner Avenue (near the Warner/PCH intersection), at the site of the Bolsa Chica Interpretive Center. Cost for this tour is $1/person, $25 minimum. Tours are approximately 1 ½ to 1 ¾ hours in length. Maximum tour size is 80 people. All tour participants must be at least 7 years old, and we require a minimum of one adult per ten children. Until the Warner foot bridge is built, visitors will walk a short distance along Warner Avenue in single file until they reach the trail. Please wear closed-toe shoes and be aware that wildlife will be present.

The OVERLOOKS TRAIL TOUR starts on the footbridge where visitors observe underwater life, then continues on the 1.5 mile renovated Overlooks Trail to see marsh plants and a wide variety of birds. While walking along the trail visitors will hear the Bolsa Chica Story and see a fabulous view of the Bolsa Chica lowlands from two raised overlooks along the Trail. The Mesa Trail and a third overlook farther along the trail can be accessed after the scheduled docent-led tour. Visitors are encouraged to bring binoculars and wear comfortable closed-toe shoes. Cost for this tour is $1/person, $25 minimum. Tours are approximately 2 hours in length. Maximum tour size is 80 people. This tour is popular with bird watchers, scouts, first-time visitors and devoted followers of the Bolsa Chica who desire to Rediscover Bolsa Chica.

Amigos de Bolsa Chica has a fantastic group of trained docents who volunteer for the wetlands tour program. In many ways, the Amigos and Scouting have a lot in common. Both organizations are:

* Staffed primarily by unpaid volunteers
* Always in need of more people and funds ($’s)
* Actively engaged in various community outreach programs
* Share a respect for nature and understanding our role in maintaining nature today and in the future
(Leave No Trace & the Outdoor Code)
* Most importantly, the shared belief that one person’s efforts and commitments can make a difference!!!

The Bolsa Chica is a great place to have a Den, Pack or Troop outing. Hours are from sunrise to sunset. Free public tours are offered the first Saturday morning of every month and private, guided group tours throughout the week & weekends are reasonable priced - $1 per person or a $25 flat fee for groups smaller than 25. You can’t get a deal like that anywhere else in Orange County. Contact the Amigos by phone (714) 840-1575 or visit the website www.amigosdebolsachica.org for more tour details.

Cub & Scout requirements that can be completed on a tour
Tiger Cub Achievement 5 Let’s Go Outdoors. Page 68 5G. Take a hike with your den.
Wolves Cub Requirement 10C, Electives 13A & 13D and a Partial Requirement for the Cub Scout World Conservation Award.
Bear Cub Achievement 5 Sharing Your World with Wildlife.
Page 54 5d. Visit a wildlife refuge.
Page 55 5e. Name one animal that has become extinct in the last 100 years. Tell why animals become extinct. Name one animal that is on the endangered species list.
Webelos Cub Naturalist Requirements
Page 319 #4. Visit a nature center with your family, Webelos den, or pack. Tell what you saw.
Page 319 #6. Learn about bird flyways closest to your home. Find out which birds use these flyways.
Page 319 #8. Watch six wild animals in the wild. Describe the kind of place where you saw them. Tell what they were doing.
Page 319 #9. Give examples of a producer, consumer, and a decomposer in the food chain of an ecosystem.
Page 319 #10. Identify a plant, bird, or wild animal that is found only in your area of the country. Tell why it survives only in your area.
Page 319 #11. Learn about aquatic ecosystems and wetlands in your area. Discuss the important role aquatic ecosystems and wetlands play in supporting lifecycles of wildlife and humans.
Cub Scout 1. Cub Scout Academics: Wildlife Conservation
Page 59 Belt Loop #3. Learn about endangered species. Make a report to your den that includes a picture, how the species came to be endangered, and what is being done to save it.
2. Page 59 Academics Pin #1. Visit a wildlife sanctuary, nature center, or fish hatchery.
3. Page 59 Academics Pin # 7. Visit with a person who works with wildlife conservation, such as a park ranger, biologist, range manager, geologist, horticulturist, zookeeper, fishery technician, or conservation officer.

Boy Scout 1. Bird Studies Merit Badge* and Eagle Scout Service Projects.


*
Safety and Supervision: For the enjoyment and safety of your group, we request a MINIMUM of one adult for every 10 children. These adults are responsible for the safety and discipline of students and ensuring that students follow the rules. This is not the role of our tour leaders.
*
Special Needs and Medical Problems: We request that children with special needs have a MINIMUM of one adult for every 5 children. Please alert the tour leader of any special allergies or medical problems before the tour begins. Bring any necessary medications.
*
Our Two Rules: Our two rules (“protect the wildlife” and “listen to and obey your tour leader”) apply during the entire tour.
*
Clothing: This is an outdoor program. Weather is changeable, so wear appropriate clothes and shoes for the season.
*
Breakfast: Remind your students to have a good breakfast before the tour. Students will not have an opportunity to eat until after the tour.
*
Cancellation of Tours: We will cancel the tour in the event of rain and reschedule with the teacher.





Because the Bolsa Chica Foundation cares about wetland habitat and wildlife, everything at the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve is protected. Please review our two rules with your students BEFORE your visit to Bolsa Chica. Teachers, aides and parents are all responsible for ensuring that children obey the rules at all times. We want you to have a wonderful experience with nature! Thank you!

Rule #1: Respect the wildlife in their home

• Use a quiet voice at all times
• Stay on the trails
• Do not pick any plants
• Do not harm any insects

Rule #2: Listen to and obey your tour leader

• Only 1 person talks at a time
• When your tour leader is talking, you listen
• Raise your hand to speak
• Stay behind the tour leader on the trails
• Follow instructions

To reserve a docent led tour of the Bolsa Chica Wetlands,

Call (714) 840-1575,
or e-mail: [email protected]


The Best Time for Bolsa Chica

Bolsa Chica Tours
About the Amigos de Bolsa Chica
About the Bolsa Chica Land Trust

When is the "best time" to tour Bolsa Chica? ANYTIME! Year-round wildlife includes saltmarsh plants, tall egrets and herons, horn snails and crabs, with the occasional sightings of white pelicans, peregrine falcon, and northern herrier.


The winter months, especially November through March, offer high concentrations of migratory waterfowl and shorebirds such as pintails, western grebes, willets and godwits, sandpipers, and many more. Up to 70 different species may be counted on a winter day!

The Bolsa Chica includes over 1200 acres of undeveloped wetlands, Lowlands, and lower Mesa. This area is rich with history, from its early beginnings with the Native Americans who lived atop the mesas to the oil production of the twentieth century.

The Bolsa Chica is also an important stop for migratory birds along the Pacific Flyway, including some endangered species and threatened species, and more than 200 species of birds have been sighted at Bolsa Chica.

Bolsa Chica Tours
The Amigos de Bolsa Chica organization provides off-site programs and guided tours of the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve for thousands of schoolchildren and adults. Trained docents lead all Amigos de Bolsa Chica tours.

The FIRST SATURDAY TOUR offers an exceptional on-site presentation of the Bolsa Chica Story. On the first Saturday of each month from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., docents gather at the south lot of the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, across the street from the main entrance to Bolsa Chica State Beach. Tours are stationed on the footbridge, a truly magnificent entrance to the restored Bolsa Chica wetlands. Tours begin every 15 minutes and five areas of interest are included in the presentation: history, birds, endangered species, ecology and restoration. This free tour operates on a first-come, first-served basis, and is a wonderful opportunity for vacationers, students, small groups and local citizens to visit a valuable eco-resource.

Similar in nature to the First Saturday Tour is the FOOTBRIDGE LECTURE TOUR, a reserved private group tour. Cost for this tour is $1 per person with $25 minimum fee. Tours are approximately 1 to 1 ¼ hours in length, with a maximum tour size of 80 people. Popular with school groups, Scouts, birders, and first-time visitors to Bolsa Chica, this tour is also recommended for visitors with special needs and younger visitors.

The MESA TOUR offers an opportunity for visitors to hike the Mesa Trail while listening to the Bolsa Chica Story. For those who have visited Bolsa Chica before and love an adventure, this is a way to enjoy the area from a different point of view. Overlooking the Bolsa Chica Lowlands, Bolsa Chica State Beach and the Pacific Ocean, the Mesa provides a dramatic view of the entire ecosystem. The Mesa has been of particular interest to archaeologists who have found various artifacts that are several thousand years old from Native American cultures. Visitors park at the north lot of the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve on Warner Avenue (near the Warner/PCH intersection), at the site of the Bolsa Chica Interpretive Center. Cost for this tour is $1 per person with $25 minimum fee. Tours are approximately 1 to 1 ¼ hours in length. All tour participants must be at least 7 years old, and there is a requirement of one adult per ten children. Please wear closed-toe shoes and be aware that wildlife will be present.

The OVERLOOKS TRAIL TOUR starts on the footbridge, where visitors observe underwater life, then continues on the renovated 1 ½-mile Overlooks Trail to see marsh plants and a wide variety of birds. While walking along the trail, visitors will hear the Bolsa Chica Story and see a fabulous view of the Bolsa Chica Lowlands from two raised overlooks along the Trail. The Mesa Trail and a third overlook farther along the trail can be accessed after the scheduled docent-led tour. Visitors are encouraged to bring binoculars and wear comfortable closed-toe shoes. Cost for this tour is $1 per person with $25 minimum fee. Tours are approximately 2 hours in length. This tour is popular with bird watchers, Scouts, first-time visitors and devoted followers of the Bolsa Chica who desire to Rediscover Bolsa Chica.



The Bolsa Chica Land Trust also offers a FREE two-hour BIRDERS PARADISE walking tour of the Bolsa Chica Wetlands and Mesa on the 3rd Sunday of each month. This docent-led tour stops along the walkbridge and loop trails of the wetlands. Tours start at the South Parking Lot on Coast Highway at 10 a.m. Sun protection, comfortable shoes and binoculars are recommended.

About the Amigos de Bolsa Chica
The Amigos de Bolsa Chica is one of the oldest and most successful environmental preservation organizations in California. The mission of the Amigos de Bolsa Chica is

*
To advocate the preservation, restoration, and maintenance of the Bolsa Chica
*
To encourage the public acquisition of all the wetlands and sufficient surrounding open space to create a viable ecosystem
*
To provide education about the importance of wetlands

The first community group to actively restore and protect the Bolsa Chica wetlands, the Amigos' de Bolsa Chica organization relies upon members, volunteers and the community to continue fulfilling its mission. Board of Directors member Shirley Dettloff commended the almost 2,000 volunteers and organization members for their integral part in restoring the wetlands, saying that, without the thousands of volunteers, the wetlands would not be there.
“For over 33 years, our volunteers have recognized the importance of restored wetlands in Huntington Beach and what that would mean to our community. From the very beginning, the Amigos’ de Bolsa Chica group saw the value of saving the wetlands and now it is one of the largest in California; extremely vital to our community, county, and even the nation,” says Dettloff.

The Bolsa Chica Lowland Restoration Project
In 1997, the Amigos spearheaded an effort that resulted in the state's acquisition of 880 acres of wetlands with principal funds provided by the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. With an additional 41 acres purchased by the state in 2005, the public now owns over 1200 acres of wetlands/lowlands.

The Amigos de Bolsa Chica closely monitors the wetland restoration project and future wetland management. The $110 million Bolsa Chica Lowland Restoration Project, financed almost entirely by the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach as part of the mitigation for their expansion, opened to much fanfare from the press and public on August 24, 2006.

August 24, 2006: 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.

Volunteer Opportunities & More Information
If you are interested in insuring the future well-being of the Bolsa Chica Wetlands and would like to become a member of the Amigos de Bolsa Chica, print, fill out and mail in a membership application available at www.amigosdebolsachica.org.

There are also opportunities for volunteering your time, becoming a docent, leading tours of the wetlands and general information regarding the Wetlands and the organization on the website.

About the Bolsa Chica Land Trust
The Bolsa Chica Land Trust was formed in 1992 by a small group of Californians who believed that one of the last standing wetlands ecosystems in Southern California was worth preserving for future generations. The Land Trust now includes more than 5000 members from throughout California and twenty other states.

The mission of the Bolsa Chica Land Trust is to acquire, restore and preserve the entire 1700 acres of the mesa, lowlands and wetlands of the Bolsa Chica, and to educate the public about this natural treasure. The Land Trust conducts educational programs to build awareness about the role of the Bolsa Chica wetlands system in the natural and urban environment, and tell the story of its rich history. The Land Trust's Bolsa Chica Stewards have been working since 1996 on the mesa re-vegetation project. Over 2000 volunteers have spent thousands of hours replanting the mesa. More than 8,000 native plants have been planted at the Bolsa Chica Mesa. Over 15,000 volunteer hours have been logged. Volunteers of all ages are bringing the Mesa back to life.

The Bolsa Chica Stewards, the restoration team of the Bolsa Chica Land Trust, have two work days each month. Working on the Reserve for the past 13 years, the Stewards focus on restoring native plant habitat on the Mesa. Workdays are the first Sunday and the third Saturday of each month from 9:00 a.m. to noon. Meet at the Reserve North Parking Lot located at the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Warner Avenue in Huntington Beach (across from the fire station). Please “dress for mess” with long pants and closed toe shoes (like sneakers) and plenty of sunscreen. For more information, please contact director Kim Kolpin at 714-717-6304 or check our website at www.bolsachicalandtrust.org.
 



Bolsa Chica Wetlands Interpretive Center
3842 Warner Avenue
Huntington Beach, CA 92469-4263
Phone: (714) 846-1114
Open several days per week. Tours by appointment. Call for information.


 
 


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