Meet Melissa Loebl, New Bolsa Chica Reserve Manager
By Shirley Dettloff

Melissa LoebleMelissa Loebl, new BCER Manager.
Photo from Friends of Madrona Marsh.
Several members of the Amigos had an opportunity to meet with the new Manager of the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, Melissa Loebl, and went away from the meeting impressed with her background and experience. Our feelings were that Melissa will be an asset to the future of the Bolsa Chica. Melissa has a B.A. in Psychology from California State University, Long Beach, and she will complete her Masters in Fisheries and Wildlife Administration from Oregon State University in 2022. This educational background is certainly impressive, but her professional experience provides so many different experiences that will be so helpful in managing the Bolsa Chica.

From December 2005 until June 2011 Melissa worked at the Aquarium of the Pacific. She did daily husbandry, training and observation of mammals, birds, and reptiles, maintained accurate records of diet and behavior for the entire animal collection. She also did daily public presentations and supervised volunteers and interns. In 2012 she was a Natural Resource Volunteer for the California State Parks and was doing habitat restoration and enhancement along with soil management, data entry and a survey for rare species.

In 2014 she was an intern at the Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge and was involved in habitat restoration along with monitoring endangered species and a monthly bird survey. From December 2012 to October 2016 she worked at the Los Angeles Zoo where she did training and observation of multiple bird species including the Andean Condor, Cape Griffon, and a variety of vultures, eagles, owls, hawks, and parrots. In October 2016 until September 2017 she was Husbandry Supervisor-Terrestrial at the California Science Center where she provided strategic direction and best practices for daily animal care, training, enrichment and the ambassador animal program.

From 2017 up to the time she came to the Bolsa Chica, Melissa was the Naturalist/Operations Manager at the Madrona Marsh Preserve and Nature Center. She was responsible for overseeing the restoration and maintenance function of the Center and Marsh and made recommendations for site enhancements. She monitored and managed the ecosystem to ensure that natural balance was maintained including inventory of animal and plant life. She maintained and managed the staff schedule and budget, oversaw specific research projects at the Preserve working closely with the US Geological Service, Department of Fish & Wildlife, and California State Universities, as well as managing grant projects and application processes.

We are indeed lucky to have someone with such a diverse range of experiences. These experiences will allow Melissa to take over immediately. Amigos plan to have a close working relationship with Melissa in her role at the Bolsa Chica, doing what we can as an organization to make sure that we continue making our goals to continue restoration, professional management, and ensuring that the Bolsa Chica will be a healthy natural resource for future generations.

Melissa is already a member of our community; she and her family have moved to Huntington Beach and her children Kaia and Kalea are enrolled in our schools. We know that the future of Bolsa Chica is in the hands of someone with the knowledge and experience to make sure that our work of 50 years will continue so that the children of this community will always have and know the importance of wetlands. Welcome Melissa!