Update on Poseidon
By Shirley Dettloff
A workshop was held by the Santa Ana Water Quality Regional Board on May 15, 2020. The meeting was done with Zoom and lasted from 9:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. – twelve hours! Since one of the major topics was the mitigation requirement that Poseidon will be required to do if the Regional Board and then the Coastal Commission approves the project, both Charles Falzon and I participated in the meeting. As you know the Amigos have taken a position of supporting the mitigation requirement that Poseidon do their mitigation at the Bolsa Chica, but remain neutral on the desalinization project itself.
If the project is approved at all levels, Poseidon would be required to maintain the Bolsa Chica’s Ecological Reserve’s tidal inlet as well as restore an additional 15 acres of degraded wetland. As the Amigos membership knows, funding that was set aside in a special account for maintenance of the inlet has run out, and now funding is dependent on the State. Originally when decisions were made to acquire the Bolsa Chica, a fund was created to assure that maintenance of the Bolsa Chica would be assured. However, the economic downturn of 2008 combined with the requirement for more frequent dredging of the inlet, this fund has been depleted.
There is now concern that with the COVID-19 crisis’s effect on the state budget, State money will be difficult to obtain. Now many unexpected factors are at work and we will be closely following all the decisions that will be made in the coming months. The Regional Board will be making a final decision on July 31, 2020. We will continue to update you on what is happening with State agencies and with the decision by the Santa Ana Water Quality Regional Board.