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One If By Land, Two If By Sea

Posted on: Jun 14, 2016 / Conservator Q2 2016-Education-Events-News / 0 COMMENTS

By Eric Paquette


Look there in the water, it’s a bird! It’s a fish! It’s a Bolsa Chica Conservancy volunteer! For one day each month since November, Bolsa Chica Conservancy volunteers have gathered together with one mission in mind: to remove trash and debris from areas that are not accessible by foot at the Bolsa Chica Wetlands! While boating of any kind is not permitted at the reserve, the Conservancy has a special permit from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to take volunteers to scour the waters of Bolsa Chica, where they remove harmful trash and debris during non-breeding season. Being across the street from a busy state beach, and as well as on the receiving end of the East Garden Grove Wintersberg Channel, the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve has its fair share of trash.


You may have driven past the reserve in the past Kayak Cleanup III - Ian (Photographer)few months and noticed a lot of trash and debris tangled within the vegetation; sometimes it even forms a distinct ring around Outer Bolsa Bay. We call this the “dirty bathtub ring” effect, and it occurs during high tide events, like our King Tides earlier this winter. The lighter trash, plastic, and Styrofoam rise with the tides and become entangled within marsh vegetation as the tides recede. To try to clean up this dirty bathtub ring, Conservancy volunteers cast off in kayaks with trash pickers in hand. There is no telling what you may pull out of the waters during any one of our kayak cleanups. Unusual items such as car tires, air mattresses, pet carriers, guitar cases, grocery carts, and even a couch have been fished out of the waters of outer Bolsa Bay. Over the past year, 45 Bolsa Chica volunteers have participated in the annual kayak cleanup and together have helped to remove more than 1,100 lbs. of trash and debris from the ecological reserve. That’s over a half ton of trash that could have potentially ended up in our oceans!


Due to the presence of rare and sensitive wildlife on the reserve, our kayak cleanups operate during the non-breeding season months of the year (October – February) and we limit the number of volunteers in the water at one time. If you or anyone else is interested in joining Conservancy staff and volunteers on our next kayak cleanup, please contact Eric Paquette at eric@bolsachica.org or (714)846-1114. Bolsa Chica Conservancy would like to thank OEX Sunset Beach, who donates the kayaks for these events, for their continued support of our cleanup efforts

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