Community News

Poseidon's Huntington Beach Desalination Plant to Prevent Loss of Unfunded Bolsa Chica Wetlands

by: Shannon Flaherty
Posted: October 16, 2017

HUNTINGTON BEACH...Poseidon Water continues to demonstrate its unprecedented commitment to environmental stewardship by putting forth a plan to assume responsibility for maintenance of tidal action to the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve (Bolsa Chica) Wetlands. Poseidon's proposed restoration action will assure long-term and effective tidal action to support estuarine and coastal fish populations in the important regional wetland habitat. 

A copy of the plan can be found here. 

The Bolsa Chica is an approximately 1,500-acre coastal estuary located in Huntington Beach. Owned by the State Lands Commission and managed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the wetlands is the largest saltwater marsh between Monterey Bay and the Tijuana River Estuary. The wetlands serves a variety of functions including flood and land erosion control, water purification, and providing bird flyways and critical habitats to over 1,1000 species. The site additionally welcomes nearly 30,000 visitors per year for recreation, education, and wildlife watching. 

In addition to Poseidon's proposed Bolsa Chica restoration plan, the company has agreed as a condition of the facility's lease agreement with the State Lands Commission to make an annual

deposit of $300,000 in the State Land's Commission's Kapiloff Land Bank Fund for use in the

adaptive management, maintenance and operations of the Bolsa Chica Lowlands Restoration

Project.   The State Lands Commission is scheduled to consider approval of the Project's amended lease agreement on Thursday, October 19th. 

In a 2013 letter to the Coastal Commission, the State Lands Commission wrote, ""The Bolsa Chica wetland site in Huntington Beach is an example of an underfunded restoration project in need of additional funds to maintain the high value habitat that was created. Given its close proximity to the proposed desalination project area, it would be an ideal candidate for this type of mitigation derived funding augmentation." 

"The Bolsa Chica wetlands are among the last remaining saltwater marshes in California," said Ed Mountford, chairman of the Bolsa Chica Conservancy.  "We advocate and support funding to sustain this unique and rare coastal habitat that is vital to both humans and wildlife." 

The Bolsa Chica funding plan will coincide with operation of the Huntington Beach Desalination Project, which will be the most environmentally friendly desalination plant in the world. From commitments to solar power and 100% carbon neutrality, the wetlands restoration is another example of Poseidon's commitment to environmental diligence. The plant will help protect the groundwater basin and reduce demand on imported water by providing Orange County with 50 million gallons of fresh drinking water per day from the Pacific Ocean, enough for 400,000 residents.  

"We are proud to continue protecting the environment and act as an environmental leader in the desalination industry," said Scott Maloni, Poseidon Vice President. "When completed, Huntington Beach will be home to the largest, most technologically advanced, energy efficient and environmentally responsible seawater desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere." 

The plant faces a key upcoming vote by the State Lands Commission in October, before moving on to the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board and California Coastal Commission for final approvals.


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