Bolsa Chica Basin Inlet celebrates 10th anniversary as budget concerns linger

Thursday, August 25, 2016
EMBED <>More Videos

The Bolsa Chica Wetlands in Huntington Beach is home to several species.

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- The Bolsa Chica Basin Inlet in Huntington Beach celebrated its 10th anniversary on Wednesday.

Once an oil field, the conservancy is now home to birds, fish and other species.

The $147 million project to open an inlet to allow saltwater and sea life to flow into the reserve created a beautiful habitat for many species.

It's a stark contrast to the area that was once the second largest oil field in California.

"We see 10 years later what we hoped the waters would do, they have done," Shirley Dettloff with the Amigos de Bolsa Chica said.

"We have now 22 endangered, critical and species of concern making their home here," Jennifer Luccheis, the California State Lands Commission executive officer explained. "The Bolsa Chica Wetlands has been designated as a critical habitat for the snowy plover."

Officials said up to 80,000 people visit the area each year, and while the 10th anniversary was cause to celebrate, there were still some concerns.

"We are in a critical time in terms of funding the future of these wetlands," Lucchesi said.

Officials said the $15 million fund to maintain the area is drying up, possibly threatening the species that call the area home.

Those involved said they're open to ideas to look for solutions to create permanent funding. Officials said they have two years left before the money runs out.