Archive for the ‘Wetlands’ Category

John Earl

Native Americans and supporters march along the "Wall of Death" (named for the glass wall in background that has caused the death of wild birds) to protest the destruction of sacred burial grounds and one of the most important archaeological sites in North America the first Saturday of each month at the Brightwater housing development (start 10 a.m. at Bolsa Chica and Warner). Photo: John Earl

By Flossie Horgan
OC Voice guest columnist

Native American Discoveries at Brightwater, upper Bolsa Chica Mesa

Issues concerning the archaeological excavations at Brightwater continue to grow. In a letter dated April 8, 2008, to the California Coastal Commission, the Native American Heritage Commission Larry Myers states “The NAHC remains concerned about the Brightwater- Bolsa Chica Project. The NAHC has not received a report clearly showing the dates, locations and details of burial discoveries. At this point based on information available and the large number of burials recovered and associated items, it appears that the whole area may be a burial ground.”

We have learned:

  • The reburials of the human remains were far more than “bone fragments” as conveyed by the coroner reports. Burials of “the ORA 85 people” are not a few bone fragments.
  • The archaeologist for the developer has confirmed that “the 22 cogged stones found at the ‘house pit’ of an apparent Shaman or tribal leader are clearly associated grave goods.”
  • Over 100,000 artifacts
  • 4,217 artifacts found during the grading monitoring on ORA 83
  • 83 prehistoric features uncovered with the burials
  • 1,622 artifacts found during the grading monitoring on ORA 85
  • 87 human “bone concentrations” need to be reburied (more…)

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Local Business Profile

By Lisa Wells
OC Voice Staff Writer

Jan Smith is part owner of Wild Birds Unlimited in H.B., a good place for birdwatchers

Jan Smith is part owner of Wild Birds Unlimited in H.B., a good place for birdwatchers

Perched at the corner of Adams Avenue and Beach Boulevard in Huntington Beach near Mother’s Market is a shop that’s for the birds and anyone else who wants to add some nature to their backyard environment.

A step into this quaint store almost feels like a step into the outdoors. The sound of tricking water flows from the solar-powered water fountains and the walls are lined with an unbelievable variety of bird feeders.

Visiting the Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop also seems more like an educational field trip than a shopping binge. For four years the shop’s knowledgeable staff has been teaching folks how to bring wild birds into their backyards. Clients learn ways to bring specific types of birds to stay and can even find out how to discourage birds they’d rather not have as yard guests. (more…)

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By Scott Sink
OC Voice Staff Writer

Motorists passing through Huntington Beach may see local Native Americans and concerned residents picketing in front of the Brightwater housing development, built by Hearthside Homes, on Bolsa Chica and Warner.

The protesters are denouncing the building of houses upon an 8,500 year old village site, which includes at least 174 human burials.

“We’re trying to make people aware about what’s going on here,” said Paul Moreno, an organizer of the event from the Micmac Nation. “What has been done here isn’t right. Developers have destroyed 90 percent of Orange County’s sacred sites.”

Although the Coastal Commission approved the building permit in April of 2005, a broad-based coalition of indigenous peoples and environmentalists contend that Hearthside did not comply with the laws protecting sacred sites and archaeological remains. (more…)

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By John Earl
OC Voice Editor

What some people call a mere Huntington Beach bean field is actually one of California’s last remaining wetland areas, according to environmentalists and scientists for the California Coastal Commission. In either case, all the beans and much of the wetlands habitat will vanish soon due to a 5-2 city council vote on June 16 that advanced a 6-year-old proposal to build up to 170 homes on the site.

The housing tract will be located on part of a 50-acre section of land on the upper mesa of the Bolsa Chica wetlands, on an historical flood plain adjacent to a county flood control levee, south of Warner Avenue and along the west side of Graham Avenue.

Since 1971 city officials have dreamed of building homes on the site. The project is related to a larger, 30-year-old battle for 1,700-acres of threatened Bolsa Chica wetlands and habitat connected areas, 1,100 of which have been preserved but would have been replaced by now with a 5,700 home marina and other urban sprawl were it not for the efforts of local and state wetlands preservationists.

Councilmember Cathy Green, for one, has been content for years believing that the project would replace only beans, not wetlands, and that the city should keep with its past intentions. “I have always thought of it [the site] as a bean field and always thought that it was going to be developed residential,” she recalled before voting. (more…)

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Editor’s note: The following article is hotly disputed by Shea Homes. Spokesperson Laer Pearce explains Shea’s position in the response the follows directly at the end of this article. The Voice encourages readers to consider the views of all parties involved in this issue.

By John Earl
OC Voice Editor

One of the primary reasons the Huntington Beach City Council accepted the California Coastal Commission’s recommended modifications to the Parkside housing project on the upper mesa of the Bolsa Chica wetlands (June 16) was the developer’s promise to repair the Wintersburg flood control levee up to FEMA standards along the property’s southern border, which Shea vice president Ron Metzler and city staff repeatedly assured the city council would lead to a FEMA certification and the elimination of flood insurance for 7,000 homes located all the way to the 405 freeway and north of Edinger Avenue.

They pointed to a 2002 FEMA letter as proof that the flood map for that area would be changed after Shea’s mandated improvements are made. The letter confirmed that the improvements would lead to lower or zero flood insurance premiums for an unknown number of people.

But Bolsa Chica Land Trust director Flossie Horgan tried to tell the council about a recent request to the city by Shea Homes to “consider a design alternative that would limit the improvement of the levee along the C05 Wintersburg Channel to the developed frontage in lieu of the entire length of the property as originally required under the conditions of approval for the project,” according to a Jan. 23, 2007 letter from City Engineer Travis K. Hopkins to the Coastal Commission. (more…)

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