Bolsa Chica Dredging and Beach Nourishment Project on the Table

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Los Angeles District, has received an application for a 10-year permit for the Bolsa Chica Lowlands Restoration Project.

The Bolsa Chica Project is an approximately 950-acre coastal wetland restoration scheme located on lands owned by the State of California.

It is the largest coastal wetland restoration project completed in California, where a new coastal inlet has been developed to restore tidal influence to previously diked and drained wetlands.

According to the Corps, the project was opened to tidal influence in 2006 and included the construction of an approximately 167-acre Full Tidal Basin (FTB) along with muted tidal basins consisting of the Pocket Marsh, West Muted Tidal Basin (MTB), Central MTB, and East MTB, as well as Seasonal Ponds and the Future Full Tidal Basin.

The project also included the first two sediment management dredging cycles required for the scheme. Additional dredging, which was contemplated in the original environmental review for the project has been performed periodically under extensions of the previous permits.

Now, the California State Lands Commission and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are jointly submitting the application for the maintenance dredging and beach nourishment activities for ecological restoration, flood risk management at the Bolsa Chica Lowlands Restoration Project site.

The sediment management dredging program for the Bolsa Chica Lowlands is proposed to continue removing sands from the Full Tidal Basin entrance channel and flood shoal deposits on a recurrent cycle of every one to three years, with the next cycle anticipated to begin in fall-winter 2017.

As reported by the applicant, each dredging cycle would dredge approximately 50,000 to 350,000m³ (65,397 to 457,782 cy) of material, depending on conditions. These amounts would be consistent with those allowed under prior Corps permits for the project.

Like in previously permitted dredging cycles, the material will be excavated from intertidal and shallow subtidal deposits and placed back into the littoral cell at the down coast beach in an area extending from the southern inlet channel jetty a distance of up to 5,000 feet down coast to the location of the Huntington Bluffs, a natural headlands that does not retain a wide beach.

The receiver beach is the Bolsa Chica State Beach and the Huntington Beach City Beach, both State Parks-owned properties. The dredged sand is to be deposited along the beach face, or within near shore subtidal areas, to provide feed sand for littoral transport southeastward along the shoreline.

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