Weixia Jin, Michael McCarthy


Bolsa Chica Wetlands is one of a few recently restored large wetlands in Southern California of the United States. The project required restoration of tidal flooding of some isolated wetlands while minimizing impacts to the shoreline adjacent to the new inlet and maintenance costs, preserving endangered species on site, and maintaining oil field operations along the periphery of the project. The project created a direct connection to the ocean through wetland basins that included a full tidal basin, muted tidal basins and seasonal ponds linked by a series of ocean jetties, levees, water control structures, culverts, and channels. The inlet is a key project feature and has been the focus of numerous technical studies and numerical modeling tasks. As part of theses analyses, a pre-filled ebb bar was designed and about 1 million cubic yards of clean sand from the lowlands dredging was placed offshore to minimize the anticipated impacts of the inlet opening to the shoreline. This paper presents the inlet location selection, inlet and wetland hydrodynamics, inlet dimension optimization, inlet stability analyses, and jettied inlet entrance design. It also discusses findings of comparison between model predictions and field measurements of tidal elevations and sediment accumulations in the wetland basin since the completion of the project in August 2006. This project received the first Project Excellence Award from COPRI (Coasts, Oceans, Ports and Rivers Institute) of the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2008.


Bolsa Chica Wetlands; Tidal Inlet; Inlet Stability; Inlet Design; Jetty Design; Flood Shoal; Ebb Bar; Wetland Restoration

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