Restoration Within Upper Magnolia Marsh Approved With Conditions

An application for the restoration of a pipeline in the Upper Magnolia Marsh in the Huntington Beach Wetlands Conservancy was approved with conditions at a March 10 meeting.

HUNTINGTON BEACH一 On March 10 the California Coastal Commission approved, with conditions, an application for the restoration and removal of a Plains All American Pipeline within the Upper Magnolia Marsh.

The application was approved with a series of eight conditions that ranged from providing a nesting bird survey 72 hours before construction during the bird breeding season to construction and liability responsibilities for impacts on threatened and/or endangered species.

The application was presented by the Huntington Beach Wetlands Conservancy and Plains All American Pipeline.

The conservancy, founded in 1985, is a non-profit that plans to acquire, restore, and protect the coastal wetlands of Huntington Beach. So far, they have successfully restored Talbert, Brookhurst, and Magnolia marshes.

Plains All American Pipeline is a publicly-traded master limited partnership based in Houston, Texas, the company previously operated the pipeline on an existing easement.

The application sought approval to remove the oil operation pipelines within the marsh and create a small tidal channel to improve tidal flushing, as well as removing non-native plants and replacing them with coastal salt marsh plants.

The project will theoretically increase biodiversity in the salt marsh and convert a portion of the adjacent uplands to coastal salt marsh, increasing the space of the wetland’s habitat.

Removing the pipeline will involve the complete demolition and removal of 800 linear feet of remnant oil and other abandoned pipelines, as well as electrical vaults, valve boxes, concrete supports, and other remaining infrastructure.

Out of the 800 feet of pipeline, 620 feet are located in the marsh and 180 feet will be removed from the flood control channel levees and utility bridge outside the marsh, according to the March 10 staff report.

The removal will leave the entire Huntington Beach Wetlands Complex free from any former oil production or related facilities except for the waterline.

The project will also remove about 360 cubic yards of soil and increase the elevation along the banks of the excavated area. The grading is set to improve the drainage by creating elevations and intentional flooding to support the plant life in the marsh.

The removed 360 cubic yards of soil will be used to fill in the places where concrete supports will be removed in the upland berm areas, with possible placement of 75 cubic yards at the end of the Orange County flood control levee of Huntington Beach Flood Control Channel.

The plan will also include the use of hydroseeding, the placement of 2,000 container plants, like cordgrass, and the removal of non-native plants.

The Upper Magnolia Marsh was a part of an earlier restoration project that created the tidal basin and installed the culvert between the Upper Magnolia and Magnolia Marshes, the culvert restored the tidal connection to Upper Magnolia Marsh.

There is currently no available start date for construction to begin in the salt water marsh.


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