“Bolsa Chica is in Huntington Beach, and that’s where all the activists and naturalists and environmentalists that are concerned about Bolsa Chica reside,” he said. “It just seems that it would be an opportunity to make sure they have the kind of control over the area that would benefit (the community).”
Each time Joe Vandrovec touches his toes in the water, he makes sure to do the “stingray shuffle,” quickly moving his feet on the ocean floor in small steps to try to scare off the creatures lurking on the ocean’s floor.
“What we hope to do is build a new center for coastal ecology, which is an education and restoration center that would be deemed as a regional hub for environmental and science-based education, as well as restoration efforts,” said Grace Adams, conservancy executive director.
Stingrays are commonly found in the shallow coastal waters of temperate seas. They spend the majority of their time inactive, partially buried in sand, often moving only with the sway of the tide. The stingray’s color camouflages it from predatory sharks and larger rays. Their flattened bodies are made up of pectoral fins joined to their head and a trunk with a tail trailing behind.
“I was stung last August at Bolsa along with dozens of people. At least 20 people of all ages soaking their feet in hot water by the lifeguard station,” he recalled. “I passed out and when I woke up there were emergency crews surrounding me. I have been surfing at this beach for more than 30 years and this is the first time that I have been stung.”
City officials are in talks with the county to annex 1,500 acres of the area, including 1,300 acres of the ecological reserve and 200 acres of privately owned land. The city has plans for a 114-acre regional park for the area, but officials say they want more of a financial commitment from the county before they agree to the annexation.