Amigos De Bolsa Chica

The mission of the Amigos de Bolsa Chica is to advocate for the full protection of the Bolsa Chica and educate the community about its ecological value.

Amigos de Bolsa Chica is a non-profit volunteer organization formed in 1976 by a group of Huntington Beach residents to protect the Bolsa Chica wetlands from development. Located in Huntington Beach in northwest Orange County, the Bolsa Chica wetlands had once been part of thousands of acres of coastal wetland that had been filled for urban development in the 20th Century.  Concerned about the statewide loss of coastal wetlands, the Amigos de Bolsa Chica pledged to protect, preserve and acquire the Bolsa Chica and surrounding open space and to provide education about the importance of wetlands.

The Amigos de Bolsa Chica achieved major reductions to the development plans and spearheaded an effort that resulted in the state's acquisition in 1997 of 880 acres of wetlands. The public now owns over 1200 acres of wetland/lowland. A large portion of a major lowland restoration project was completed in 2006. Almost immediately, fish and bird populations thrived as never before. Ridgway’s Clapper Rail (formerly known as the Light-footed Clapper Rail), an endangered species, began breeding at Bolsa Chica in 2013.

Designated as an Important Birding Area by the National Audubon Society, the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve is a year-round home, nesting area, and an important migratory stop for approximately 200 species of birds. It is also a nursery and a year-round home for many species of aquatic creatures and fish, 40% of which are commercially important (e.g. California halibut).

With 90% of California’s wetlands lost to urban and agricultural development, the goal of community-based education programs centered on the Bolsa Chica is to create greater awareness of the state’s threatened biodiversity and offer environmental leadership roles to all. Providing education about the ocean-wetland ecosystem is a never-ending task.