Wetlands Conservancy to manage Little Shell

Angelique Flores

HUNTINGTON BEACH-- The Huntington Beach Wetlands Conservancy secured

the recommendation from the Bolsa Chica Subcommittee to manage the Little

Shell wetlands.

The recommendation will be presented to the redevelopment agency at

the next meeting on Feb. 20.

The subcommittee met Friday, hearing pitches from the Huntington Beach

Wetlands Conservancy, the Bolsa Chica Conservancy and Orange Coast Watch,

which want to manage the seven-tenths of an acre parcel situated about

1,000 feet inland of the northwest corner of Pacific Coast Highway along

Beach Boulevard.

At the Feb. 5 Huntington Beach Redevelopment Agency meeting, council

members approved an agreement with Mayer Financial, L.P., an affiliate of

the development company Robert Mayer Corp., to convey land over to Mayer

for an expansion of the Waterfront Hilton Beach Resort, homes and Little

Shell.

The wetlands will return to the city's hands, but Surf City officials

want an agency with experience managing Little Shell while under the

ownership of Mayer. The interim period may last up to 20 months.

"There was concern that the organization who wanted to fill it was to

own it, and we want to allay the fear in the community," said

Councilwoman Connie Boardman, also a Bolsa Chica subcommittee member.

Several community members representing local environmental groups

addressed the committee showing their support for the Huntington Beach

Wetlands Conservancy, which was ultimately chosen for its past management

and restoration experience.

However, the group will only manage the property for now, not restore

it.

"We're not at the restoration point, we're at the management point,"

said Shirley Detloff, councilwoman and subcommittee member.

The wetlands conservancy will consider buying the land if and when the

city decides to sell it, said Gary Gorman, operations coordinator for the

Huntington Beach Wetlands Conservancy.

Kimberly Kolpin, director of the Bolsa Chica Stewards offered her

group's assistance. The subcommittee and Gary Gorman, operations

coordinator for the Huntington Beach Wetlands Conservancy, expressed

hopes that local environmentalist Vic Leipzig of Orange Coast Watch will

also partake in the management of the wetlands.

"It's wonderful to see everyone get involved, especially reputable

groups," said Joey Racano, a longtime Little Shell and environmental

activist.

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