As part of the draft permit issued by the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board, Poseidon Water will be required to assume responsibility for the preservation, enhancement, and restoration of the Bolsa Chica wetlands. Poseidon will assume responsibility for the maintenance of a functional ocean inlet, which serves as the lifeblood of the Ecological Reserve, and additionally restore muted tidelands and design and construct a water circulating system to keep Bolsa Chica flushed with fresh seawater, enabling a thriving and healthy habitat. This video provides more details about the Bolsa Chica preservation program.
These wetlands are owned by the state of California, but there is no long-term, sustainable funding source identified to protect and preserve Bolsa Chica. This 1,500-acre coastal estuary serves as critical habitat to more than 1,100 species, including 50 endangered fish and wildlife species. Additionally, 30,000 people visit the reserve each year for recreational activities, educational tours and wildlife watching.
With the initial dedicated funds already exhausted the Regional Water Board staff is recommending a condition that will require Poseidon Water to preserve, restore and enhance the Bolsa Chica wetlands for the operating life of the desalination plant.
In its independent analysis, the Regional Board staff finds that Poseidon’s proposed Bolsa Chica Preservation Plan provides more ecological value than will be impacted by the construction and operation of the desalination facility.
If the Regional Water Board votes to approve the permit renewal at the end of this month, that condition will be locked into place and will provide funding for the protection of the Bolsa Chica wetlands prior to the start-up of the desalination plant.
“Desalination must be included in any discussion of future water sources for Orange County."