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Rejuvenated Bolsa Chica wetlands flourishing

July 21, 2008 |  4:44 pm

Elegant_ternsOccasionally, there is some positive environmental news to report. Times staff writer Susannah Rosenblatt takes a look at the Bolsa Chica wetlands:

Two years ago, the saltwater oasis off Pacific Coast Highway was a desiccated oil field littered with drilling rigs.

Now, waters lap sandy shoals next to Bolsa Chica State Beach as thousands of terns squawk and flutter, jammed together in a wall of white feathers and gray chick fuzz.

With every spawning grunion and nesting sparrow, the Bolsa Chica wetlands in Huntington Beach are springing back to life, fulfilling the dream of conservationists who fought for decades to save one of Southern California's most sensitive ecosystems....

As the ecosystem changes over the next five years, biologists are anticipating that as many as 60 fish species will settle in Bolsa Chica. (Of 135 species recently observed in the restored area, 27 are fish.) Divers transplanted eel grass from Cabrillo Beach in hopes of providing shelter to the shyer species of fish, such as pipefish and surf perch.

Photo: Mark Boster/Los Angeles Times

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