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Bolsa Chica Conservancy

 3842 Warner Avenue
 Huntington Beach, CA 92649
[P] (714) 8461114
[F] (714) 8464065
[email protected]
Grace Adams
 Printable 1 Page Summary
 Printable Profile
Organization DBA --
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the community foundation in the past five years Yes
Employer Identification Number 33-0392527 00000


Mission StatementMORE »

Inspire and connect all generations through community involvement and leadership in hands-on restoration and education in wetland science, coastal ecology and environmental conservation.

Mission Statement

Inspire and connect all generations through community involvement and leadership in hands-on restoration and education in wetland science, coastal ecology and environmental conservation.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year 2018
Projected Expenses $600,000.00
Projected Revenue $665,000.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • CARE
  • Wetlands Exploration Program
  • Eyes On Nest Sites (EONS)

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2017 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Mission Statement

Inspire and connect all generations through community involvement and leadership in hands-on restoration and education in wetland science, coastal ecology and environmental conservation.

Background Statement

Since 1990, the Bolsa Chica Conservancy has played an important role in restoring native habitat at the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, which, at more than 1,400 acres, is the largest remaining saltwater marsh in Southern California.

The Conservancy provides science-based educational programs designed to promote public awareness of the important role wetlands, watersheds and coastal resources play in the health of our local environment.  More than 600,000 students, volunteers and visitors from across Southern California and around the world have participated in the BCC’s education and habitat restoration programs since inception.  These programs feature immersive outdoor education and hands-on field activities that allow participants to connect theory with real-life science.

For nearly three decades, these operations have been conducted from two double-wide trailers at the northwest corner of the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve in Huntington Beach. The 1,400 square foot space contains visitor information, exhibits and educational displays, a classroom, laboratory, and administrative offices.

Each year, the center attracts an increasing number of visitors and students from across the globe. In 2017, approximately 53,000 students, visitors and volunteers visited the center to participate in the Conservancy’s programs, view the interpretive displays, engage in education and habitat restoration activities and initiatives, and explore the trails of the reserve.  41% of the students who participated in our programs were from schools in Orange County, 53% from Los Angeles County and 6% from neighboring Riverside and San Bernardino counties.  47% of those who visited and participated in our programs are youth whose ages are 18 years old and under, 46% were adults and 6% were 55 years old and up.  Over the years, the temporary facility has become a focal point for local conservation and environmental programs, but its size and lack of necessary features are inadequate in accommodating the increasing demand for outdoor science education and the visiting public’s desire to participate in environmental conservation in coastal ecosystems such as Bolsa Chica.

Impact Statement

1.  Served more than 50,000 students, volunteers and visitors at the Bolsa Chica Interpretive Center in 2017, and nearly 600,000 since 1990.
2.  Expanded its Eyes On Nest Site (EONS) program that monitors nesting success of the Western Snowy Plover and the California Least Tern.  Reached and educated more than 1500 people through EONS, a 20% increase from the year before.
3.  Restored more than 500 acres of salt marsh, dune and coastal sage scrub habitats at the Bolsa Chica Ecological reserve.
4.  Restoring 9.5 acres of upland habitat at Harriett Wieder Regional Park that serves as a buffer to the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve.   
4.  Expanded staff to 7 full time equivalents.
5.  Increased revenue by 300% over the last five years. 

Needs Statement

Top Most Pressing Needs
1.  Establish capacity to address strategic planning, fund development, and marketing initiatives and raise $250,000 to underwrite program expansions and administrative infrastructure to launch a capital campaign to build a new state-of-the-art education center.
2.  Improve current facilities to deliver programs to meet growing demand and to better serve the public by replacing our temporary interpretive center and adding a new back-office modular facility to support our programs.
3. Increase funds for our newest initiative, Windows to Our Wetlands, which we successfully launched in 2016 with a working budget of $160,000.
4.  Assistance in further developing staff capabilities and board engagement. 
5.  Create a plan to build a permanent interpretive center that could house expanded program offerings and staffing.

CEO Statement

Environmental science and ecology face challenges that need public attention, such as emerging infectious diseases, climate changes, habitat destruction, invasive species. Increased public knowledge of conservation biology requires an informed public and one of the most effective ways to educate the public is to start with students. The Bolsa Chica Conservancy's programs focus on coastal wetlands, habitats that provide key ecosystem functions such as nutrient cycling, nursery habitat and runoff filtration (Mitsch and Gosselink, 1993). Yet the loss of coastal wetlands and their associated services during the past century has been extensive. In California, less than 10% of historical distributions remain intact (Dahl, 1990; MacDonald et al, 1990), making remaining wetland parcels incredibly important.
A key element to protecting these remnant wetlands is educating the general public and youth about human impacts to wetlands; about the importance of these habitats; and about the role of youth as stewards of our fragile eco-systems. Only 41% of students understand what a watershed is (Shepardson et al., 2007) and 71% of students tested had misconceptions of watershed hydrology and did not know anything about the biology of watershed systems. There is a substantial need to educate the general public about watersheds and interactions between water, microbiota and macrobiota in the environment.
The Bolsa Chica Conservancy is at the intersection of providing programs designed to increase understanding of the science behind coastal resources such as the Bolsa Chica Wetlands and their role in preserving it.
At more than 1,400 acres, the Bolsa Chica Wetlands is the largest saltwater marsh between Monterey Bay and the Tijuana River Estuary. It is an ideal location for scientific exploration and discovery where youth and the community may actively participate and learn about our local coastal resources and their connections to it.

Board Chair Statement

The Bolsa Chica Conservancy (BCC) is a 501 (c) (3) private non-profit, volunteer-driven organization, established in 1990 by the Bolsa Chica Planning Coalition consisting of representatives from the State of California, County of Orange, City of Huntington Beach, the landowner Signal Landmark, and an environmental citizens group called the Amigos de Bolsa Chica. 
The BCC operates the Bolsa Chica Interpretive Center located in the north end of the ecological reserve in Huntington Beach, CA. The Interpretive Center is a focal point for environmental planning, education
and information on the wetlands. The volunteer Board of Directors is comprised of 25 directors with various professional in science, business and education.  By design, our board has representation from all facets of the community to become an effective public-private partnership.  Working with a talented and dedicated board is fulfilling by itself.
Over the last 27 years, we have grown as an organization, serving more than 500,000 people.  In 2016, we served 49,000 students, visitors and volunteers.  The support from the community has been astounding.  Our primary challenge is to continue to improve as an organization so we can increase our capacity to meet program demand, and lay the ground work to improve our marketing and development needs to raise capital to build a new facility to better serve the public.
My passion is education and youth development.  The Bolsa Chica Conservancy gives me the opportunity to support and participate in programs that address these two areas of interest. 

Other Ways to Donate/Volunteer

As a private, non-profit organization, the Bolsa Chica Conservancy relies on the generosity of its supporters to underwrite and carry out the various science-based restoration and education programs on wetlands, coastal ecology and environmental conservation.  There are many ways to support the Conservancy.  However you choose to participate, your investment will leave a long lasting effect on our environmental and our youth.  Please take a look and become a part of our group as we pave the way for all generations to become engaged and informed.   Become a member: in Honor or Memory of a Loved One: Donations: Giving: 

Geographic Area Served

Central Orange County
West Orange County
South Orange County
North Orange County
While the Conservancy is located in north Orange County, it serves people of all ages from across the United States and the world.  Students, visitors and volunteers from the counties of Orange, Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside comprise the lion's share of our clients.

Organization Categories

  1. Environment - Environmental Education
  2. Animal Related - Wildlife Preservation & Protection
  3. Youth Development - Youth Development NEC




The Community Action Restoration Education (CARE) program is an interactive hands-on STEM-based educational initiative that focuses on coastal ecology, wetland science and environmental conservation.

The Program has 3 primary objectives:

(1)Engage Youth in environmental STEM-based education, (2) Restore wetland habitats and have students conduct research at the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve that exposes students in STEM disciplines and (3) increase community awareness of the importance of healthy watersheds and coastal wetlands.

Budget  $200,000.00
Category  Environment, General/Other Environmental Education
Population Served K-12 (5-19 years) Adults
Program Short-Term Success  To increase awareness of the importance of healthy watersheds and coastal wetlands.
Program Long-Term Success  Increase understanding of coastal habitats, watersheds and environmental conservation and inspire to participants to be active within their communities’ conservation efforts.
Program Success Monitored By  Our program success is monitored by number of student participants, amount of invasive plants removed, amount of native plants installed, and number of recurring students/volunteers and further engagement with the Bolsa Chica Conservancy.
Examples of Program Success  Half a million students, visitors, and volunteers have participated in our science-based and hands-on education programs; more than 60 tons of trash, debris, and invasive species extracted over the 25 year period of the Conservancy's founding. Approximately 100 acres of wetland habitat was restored by the removal of trash and invasive plants, and propagation of native plants. Over 10,000 K-College students have participated in tours and hands-on field activities.


The Youth Leadership in Environmental Action Program (YLEAP) is designed to engage students in middle/high school (12-17 years old) to cultivate youth leaders by providing them with knowledge and skills that help motivate and inspire others to protect and preserve coastal resources.Through a focused, year-long program of hands-on training and job shadowing sessions, participants will gain knowledge in wetland science, watershed biology, marine habitats, environmental conservation and community involvement, while they develop skills in leadership,critical thinking, public speaking and teamwork. Participants will be able to choose 1 or 2 teams in which to specialize. Teams centered on Guided Tours, Restoration Work, Research, Public Outreach/Event Management, and Interpretive Center Hosting will be formed and paired with Adult Mentors/staff to provide them guidance in these different fields. Students will be scheduled over a 12-month period to lead or assist in specific projects.
Budget  $50,000.00
Category  Youth Development, General/Other Youth Leadership
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years)
Program Short-Term Success  For YLEAP participants, students will complete the twelve month program with volunteer hours devoted to gain leadership capabilities and hands-on restoration experience.
Program Long-Term Success  For young adults participating in YLEAP, participants will show growth in leadership capabilities and continue engagement within their communities.
Program Success Monitored By 
Number of trained YLEAP participants; completed training must include the 2-day training session and 3 shadowing sessions, number of training hours acquired by trained YLEAP participants, number of hours logged trained YLEAP participants and worked in areas of specialization, number of classes or service days led and/or assisted by trained YLEAP participants, and number of students served by trained YLEAP participants.
Examples of Program Success  The YLEAP program has been active since 2012 and has since hosted 239 volunteer hours for 17 students. With new and returning students we hope to continue to build and expand upon this program in the coming years.   

Wetlands Exploration Program

The Wetland Exploration Program (WEP) is a hands-on science research program that exposes middle school and high school students to the real-life study and exploration of ecosystems and habitat restoration.  Participants to the program learn about ecology, ecosystem functions and habitat restoration through data collection to study water quality, plant habitats and planktonic populations at the wetlands.  This program is available year-round for middle and high school students.
Budget  $175,000.00
Category  Environment, General/Other Environmental Education
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years)
Program Short-Term Success  By the end of the Wetlands Research Program students will have collected scientific data on water quality parameters, plant habitat diversity, plankton identification and counts, and soil quality parameters which expands their knowledge of environmental science and data research. 
Program Long-Term Success  Students involved in this program will develop critical thinking and research skills that will aid them in pursuit of higher education in biology, environmental conservation, conservation biology, or environmental policy. 
Program Success Monitored By  Student success is monitored by the staff through completion of data collection, presentation, analysis and a fnal research paper.
Examples of Program Success  --

Eyes On Nest Sites (EONS)

In collaboration with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) and the California Department of Parks and Recreation, the Bolsa Chica Conservancy (BCC) launched Eyes On Nest Sites (EONS) in 2010 to monitor nesting success of the endangered California Least Tern and threatened Western Snowy Plover colonies at the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve. Running from March to August, EONS is designed to be an immersive program that engages the public to learn more about nesting birds and the wildlife at Bolsa Chica by observing birds during their breeding season and collecting data.
Budget  $25,000.00
Category  Animal-Related, General/Other Bird Preservation & Protection
Population Served Adults Adolescents Only (13-19 years)
Program Short-Term Success  At the end of each EONS program, success is measured by the number of volunteers who participate as well as the number of visitors educated by EONS volunteers. 
Program Long-Term Success  Through EONS students and the general public will observe nesting birds and wildlife activity and their integral role within the wetlands. We hope that this experience will inspire the public and raise awareness of the importance of nesting grounds and wetland habitats, as well as increasing our knowledge by collecting relevant biological field data to better understand the needs, challenges and threats to these species.
Program Success Monitored By  EONS success is monitored by the number of volunteers who fulfill monitoring days and the data that is collected annually and used to determine strategies and approaches for increased success by terns and plovers.
Examples of Program Success  In 2014 EONS nest site monitors reached 2,796 visitors while at their station nesting site. 100% of the 2014 survey season was monitored on a daily basis by volunteers, for at least two hours per day. Volunteers completed a total of 443 on-site survey hours, in addition to nearly 50 volunteer hours directly related to EONS. This season, volunteers were emailed weekly updates about the nesting activity, as well as being
connected to each other through an EONS Facebook group.


CEO/Executive Director Ms. Grace Adams
CEO Term Start Aug 2003
CEO Email [email protected]
CEO Experience

Grace Adams has been managing the BCC’s programs since 2003. In her role as the BCC’s Executive Director, she has developed education and habitat restoration programs designed for both formal and informal science audiences. She also has extensive experience working with community groups and stakeholders, and developing education and restoration programs. As its administrator, she has expanded the BCC’s programs and strengthened its financial and organizational capabilities since joining in 2003. Grace has a Bachelor of Science degree in Tourism and Business Administration from the University of the Philippines. She serves on the board of directors of Visit Huntington Beach and the Advisory Council of the Schmid School of Science and Technology of Chapman University.  Grace obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Tourism Management from the University of the Philippines, and completed the Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders from the Standford Graduate School of Business, Stanford University.

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
-- -- --

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
-- -- --


Award Awarding Organization Year
-- -- --


Affiliation Year
-- --

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --



Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 7
Number of Part Time Staff 1
Number of Volunteers 200
Number of Contract Staff 3
Staff Retention Rate % 80%
Staff Professional Development Yes

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 3
Caucasian: 4
Hispanic/Latino: --
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 4
Male: 3
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Organization has Strategic Plan? Under Development
Years Strategic Plan Considers 3
Management Succession Plan Under Development
Organization Policies And Procedures Under Development
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No

Risk Management Provisions

Nondiscrimination Policy Under Development
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes

Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Quarterly

Government Licenses


CEO Comments


Foundation Comments



Board Chair Mr. Ed Mountford
Board Chair Company Affiliation Management Consultant
Board Chair Term Jan 2017 - Dec 2019
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Mr. Keith Bohr First Team Real Estate Voting
Mr. Frank Dela Vara Disneyland Resort Voting
Ms. Lucy Dunn Orange County Business Council Voting
Mr. Mark Gaughan The Genesee Group Voting
Dr. Peter Green Retired Biologist Voting
Ms. Claire Grozinger Retired Research Technician Voting
Mr. Robert Grundstrom California Resources Corporation Voting
Mr. Jeffrey Hyder Simple Green Voting
Mr. Thomas Mays Pacific Life Insurance Co. Voting
Mr. Ed Mountford Hearthside Homes Voting
Mr. Eric Smalstig Geosyntec Voting
Mr. Phil Smith Retired Telecommunications Professional Voting
The Honorable Michelle Steel County of Orange Voting
Mr. PT Townend ActivEmpire Voting
Dr. Christine Whitcraft California State University, Long Beach Voting
Ms. Stephanie Wilson Fred's Mexican Cafe Voting
Mr. Weikko Wirta AES Southland Voting
Ms. Janet Yee Southern California Gas Co. Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Additional Board Members and Affiliations

Name Company Affiliations Status
Mr. Mark Abramowitz Abramowitz Consulting NonVoting
The Honorable Patrick Brenden City of Huntington Beach NonVoting
Mr. Chris Epting Surf City Advertising Co. NonVoting
Mr. David Garofalo Main Street Consulting NonVoting
Ms. Cathy Green Orange County Water District NonVoting
Mr. Richard Harlow -- NonVoting
Mr. Edwin Laird Laird Coatings Corporation NonVoting
Dr. Charles Nichols -- NonVoting
Mr. Trevor Osaki -- NonVoting
The Honorable Michael Posey City of Huntington Beach NonVoting
The Honorable James Silva Retired State Assemblyman NonVoting
Mr. John Tillotson -- NonVoting
Mr. Jackie Vale PPG Industries NonVoting

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 2
Caucasian: 21
Hispanic/Latino: 1
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: --
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 6
Male: 12
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits 0
Board Meeting Attendance % 90%
Written Board Selection Criteria Under Development
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 100%
Board Orientation Yes

CEO Comments


Foundation Comments


Standing Committees

  • Advisory Board / Advisory Council
  • Building
  • Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
  • Executive
  • Finance
  • Program / Program Planning
  • Special Events (Golf Tournament, Walk / Run, Silent Auction, Dinner / Gala)


Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2017 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2018 to Dec 31, 2018
Projected Revenue $665,000.00
Projected Expenses $600,000.00
Form 990s

2017 BCC 990

2016 BCC_2016_990

2015 BCC_2015_990

2014 BCC 2014 990

2013 Form 990

2012 BCC 2012 990

Audit Documents --
IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Total Revenue $743,644 $554,047 $401,482
Total Expenses $462,568 $428,480 $330,778

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Revenue By Revenue Source
Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
$236,546 $464,632 $289,143
Government Contributions $132,379 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified $132,379 -- $0
Individual Contributions -- -- --
Indirect Public Support -- -- $0
Earned Revenue $4,475 $6,296 $0
Investment Income, Net of Losses $1,771 $1,256 $985
Membership Dues $17,650 $7,800 $14,441
Special Events $94,845 $74,063 $92,647
Revenue In-Kind $255,978 -- $0
Other -- -- $-88,381

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Expense By Type
Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Program Expense $401,260 $360,467 $294,855
Administration Expense $53,571 $64,430 $30,898
Fundraising Expense $7,737 $3,583 $5,025
Payments to Affiliates -- -- $0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.61 1.29 1.21
Program Expense/Total Expenses 87% 84% 89%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 2% 1% 1%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Total Assets $906,981 $625,905 $500,338
Current Assets $517,292 $485,544 $353,327
Long-Term Liabilities -- -- $0
Current Liabilities $906,981 -- $0
Total Net Assets -- $625,905 $500,338

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 0.57 inf inf

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 0% 0%
Endowment Value $0.00
Spending Policy N/A
Percentage(If selected) --
Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? Anticipated In 3 Years
Capital Campaign Purpose To build an interpretive center
Campaign Goal $10,000,000.00
Capital Campaign Dates Apr 2023 - Mar 2024
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? Yes

CEO Comments


Foundation Comments

Summary financial data is per the Form 990s and consultation with the organization. Foundation/corporate and individual contributions are combined under Foundation and Corporation Contributions.


Other Documents

No Other Documents currently available.