Update on Poseidon
By Shirley Dettloff

A presentation and update on the Poseidon Desalinization project was held for the Santa Ana Water Quality Control Board of Directors at the Huntington Beach City Council Chambers on December 6. Shirley Dettloff, Kim Dipasquale, and Charles Falzon represented the Amigos de Bolsa Chica. While the Amigos de Bolsa Chica is neutral on the project itself, our interest is the mitigation that is required of Poseidon if the project is approved by the Coastal Commission. We wanted to convey to the board the importance of the proposed mitigation plan and our approval of it. Poseidon will be required to keep the tidal inlet open and functioning as well as complete additional restoration. The restoration will take place in the muted tidal area referred to as the Fieldstone property. They will also be required to implement a water circulating system to ensure that the restoration will function properly.

If the project is approved, the Amigos de Bolsa Chica feels that the mitigation must be done in an area close to the Poseidon project. Many times in the past, mitigation is done many miles from the area where the project is being built. Our speakers conveyed to the board how important the restored wetlands are, and the fact that funds for keeping the tidal inlet open and functioning would be depleted after this year’s dredging.

There was a very large crowd in attendance, those in support and those in opposition. After the staff presentations, each side was able to present their case. Poseidon’s presentation included the support recently given to the project by the Orange County Water District. Former Senator Barbara Boxer gave a “rousing” speech in favor of the project. Coastkeepers, who along with several environmental groups oppose the project, presented their case. The public was then allowed to give his or her testimony, limited to 2 minutes for each speaker. It was a very long day, and I thank our speakers for staying the entire day to show why the mitigation should be done at Bolsa Chica. A final vote on the project will take place sometime in April, so we don’t know as yet how this will turn out, but it is our job to make sure that if a project is approved, that Bolsa Chica must be the site for their mitigation.