Research Projects

The Optimal Ingredients to Grow Cordgrass (spartina)

The HBWC's Executive Director (John Villa, and one of its Board Members (Greg Gardiner) is working with students of Mr. Gardiner's at Edison High School to study Cordgrass (spartina). The students have designed and build three growing stations to mimic the conditions for Cordgrass in Magnolia Marsh (System 1) and will vary conditions, e.g. sea water level, water and soil chemistry… to determine the optimal conditions to successfully grow tall and strong Cordgrass. Cordgrass is essential in a salt marsh as it is consumed by a variety of butterflies and also acts as a nesting area for at least one species of engendered birds. It is strongly used in salt marshes to assist in slowing and reversing shoreline erosion.

(Photo: John Villa)

Growing Milkweed

The Conservancy has formed a partnership with the Huntington Beach Tree Society for the propagation and dissemination of native milkweed. Milkweed plants, essential for the reproduction of monarch butterflies, will be grown in our native plant nursery by Tree Society volunteers and will be made available to local residents.
Narrow-leaf Milkweed, blooms and leaves.

Salt Marsh Bird's Beak Update: November 2020 – Working with the Henry & Ellen Warne Family Fund, managed through the Orange County Community Foundation, and our partners with Tidal Influence and OC Habitats, our efforts to bring back the endangered species Salt Marsh Bird's Beak (chloropyron maritimum subsp. maritimum) in our marshes has been highly successful. We now have over 5,000 plants located in all three of our marshes and plan to sow another 30,000 seeds this fall. (Photos: John Villa)

Bird's Beak taking hold in our Wetlands at HBWC
Bird's Beak taking hold in our Wetlands at HBWC
Bird's Beak taking hold in our Wetlands at HBWC

Talbert Marsh Living Shoreline – Through funds from AES Southland, managed through the California Energy Commission (CEC), United States Fish and Wildlife and the United Parcel Services (UPS) HBWC is currently working through the permitting process to restore and reverse an erosion issue we have in Talbert Marsh. We will be installing a "Living Shoreline" over and approximately 300 linear feet of shoreline along the southeastern edge of Talbert Marsh as well as 100 linear feet of the west/southwest edge of one of our islands. The project, engineered by Moffatt & Nichol, will bring various aspects of plants and products to shore up and rebuild, over time, the eroded areas.

(Image Provided by: Moffatt & Nichol)

Upper Magnolia Marsh Restoration – Through cooperation with Plains All American (now Zenith Terminals), we are working to complete permitting on a project to finish the restoration of the Upper Magnolia Marsh. The Upper Magnolia Marsh received a minor restoration in 2009/2010 when the HBWC restored the Magnolia Marsh. Unfortunately, we had to stop short of a full restoration as a result of oil pipelines which have been on our property for decades. The pipeline was an essential component to the SCE (now AES) power generation plant until the mid-80's when the plant was converted from running on crude oil to natural gas. Plains is working with the HBWC to remove the pipeline and complete the restoration. This project should be completed by Spring of 2021.

(Photo: Provided by Moffatt & Nichol)

Newland Marsh Restoration Project> – Through generous grants from the California State Coastal Conservancy, United States Fish and Wildlife and the Wildlife Conservation Board, the HBWC is currently finalizing the acquisition of the Newland Marsh. Fifteen years in the making, we are now one step closer of completing the ~200 acres of property restorable back to a wetland. When completed, most likely in 2023/2024, the Newland Marsh will be a controlled muted tidal marsh with limited public access. Stay tuned for more updates.

(Figure: Provided by Moffatt & Nichol)