California’s Salton Sea is a fertile oasis in the hostile desert of southeastern California, adopted by millions of birds migrating along the Pacific Flyway. Created in 1993 the Salton Sea Authority is a Joint Powers Authority (JPA) responsible for working in consultation and cooperation with the State of California to oversee the comprehensive restoration of the Salton Sea. Neither IID nor previous state officials were willing to budge, but new California water board chairman E. Joaquin Esquivel in March gave state natural resources staff and IID until May 1 to strike an agreement, and told them to report back to him by June. "If people had understood all this time that its formation was entirely natural, people would feel differently about it.”. The badly eroding shoreline of the Salton Sea, February 19, 2019. But that framing is too simplistic, new research suggests, arguing that the sea's formation was inevitable, regardless of the famous canal breach in 1905. Warning signs along an inlet warn people stay away from algae if it's visible in the water at the Salton Sea. Migratory bird populations disappeared this winter and large dust storms are picking up in intensity. Supervisor Manuel Perez has proposed an Enhanced Infrastructure Financing District to generate funding, by tax increment, for sea restoration, mainly on the Riverside County side of the water body, most of which is in Imperial County. He noted a community committee he was appointed to had met just once, and said it had accomplished nothing. But Salton Sea restoration threatens to undermine nature’s effort to reclaim the basin by once again smothering this new life in toxic … Called the Species … WESTMORLAND — The California Salton Sea Management Program began construction this week on a nearly 4,000-acre project to restore bird and fish habitat and improve conditions for local communities near the southern tip of the Salton Sea. It's been a long time coming. Ross recently published her research through the 2020 iteration of the Desert Symposium in a paper with a title that speaks for itself: "Formation of California’s Salton Sea in 1905–07 was not 'accidental.'". "I can't blame them. Agenda for June 18, 2019 Board Meeting "Is the board really aware of what's needed to drive that to the finish line?" The Summit is a multi-disciplinary Salton Sea conference, intended to attract a broad range of interests, promote an exchange of ideas, and develop new opportunities and partnerships. "People’s attitudes towards the Salton Sea have been colored by this perception that the sea is accidental and unnatural," said Jenny Ross, a photographer, researcher and writer. The Salton Sea Authority is a Joint Powers Authority (JPA) empowered to revitalize the Salton Sea in consultation and cooperation with state and federal governments. The Salton Sea shoreline slowly recedes away from the small community of Bombay Beach near Highway 86 on the sea's eastern shore in this aerial photograph, October 19, 2019. “The Salton Sea is a very important stopover for millions of birds on the Pacific Flyway and after 10 years of planning we’re finally breaking ground on this major habitat restoration … (Credit: David McNew / Getty Images for Lumix) The origin of California's largest lake is a well-known tale. The Species Conservation Habitat Project (SCH) is designed to reduce wind-borne dust on each side of the New River delta. Ross's review of historical and scientific records suggested that floods similar to those between 1905 and 1907 had been occurring in the region for at least tens of thousands of years, sustaining other bodies of water. "There is much more work to come. "The Creation Flood story has resulted in the ingrained but mistaken view that the Salton Sea is accidental and unnatural," she wrote in her paper. “At its peak, the Salton Sea hosted a broad diversity of birds, and any habitat restoration that takes place here should serve that diversity.” According to the report, the most pronounced desertion has involved the American White Pelican, whose numbers reached about … Instead, runoff from irrigated farm fields kept water flowing into the sea. Get in touch at molalde@gannett.com, and follow him on Twitter at @MarkOlalde. In exchange, California will shoulder the maintenance and operations of the projects, and the state's taxpayers will cover the costs of any lawsuits or regulatory penalties if the work goes awry. "The Salton Sea in south California was created in 1905 when spring flooding on the Colorado River breached a canal," NASA's website spells out. The sea — a lake, actually — was created by accident in 1905 when flooding from the Colorado River into irrigation canals eventually led a 40-mile stretch of desert known as the Salton Sink to fill with water, thus creating the lake. This study suggested that the sea might've disappeared due to evaporation and percolation about a decade after it was once again cut off from the Colorado River. California agencies, the Salton Sea Authority, and the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Tribe completed a 60-acre wetlands project on the northern end of the sea. More than $350 million is available for Salton Sea projects, approved by California voters. “I’m very happy,” said IID general manager Henry Martinez, who worked closely with top resources officials to hammer out the agreement. Wilcox said Dessert should know that the high water mark at the sea needed to be legally re-set before dust suppression furrowing could resume. The California Natural Resources Agency, the California Department of Water Resources and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife are focused on implementing the Salton Sea Management Program, which includes a 10-year plan that aims to improve conditions by constructing 30,000 acres of habitat and dust suppression projects around the Sea. The Salton Sea was created when a canal gate broke in 1905, allowing Colorado River water into the basin. Published October 16, 2019 1:35 am Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin New board ready to move on “financing district” for proposed Salton Sea restoration … Under the transfer, the Imperial Irrigation District agreed to send up to 300,000 acre-feet of Colorado River water per year to Los Angeles and San Diego. The state of California has only completed one dust suppression project covering 112 acres, a snowpack-fed river that originates in modern-day New Mexico before feeding into the Colorado River. Frustrations by local officials and residents have mounted along with the lack of progress on projects. Website +1 760-393-3052. "You haven't gotten it delivered, you haven't. Tuesday's vote clears a key hurdle to constructing 3,700 acres around the heavily polluted New River at the south end of the lake, implementing what’s known as the Species Conservation Habitat plan. Contact. Editorial: The Salton Sea is a disaster in the making. She can be reached at janet.wilson@desertsun.com or @janetwilson66. WESTMORLAND — The California Salton Sea Management Program began construction this week on a nearly 4,000-acre project to restore bird and fish habitat and improve conditions for local communities near the southern tip of the Salton Sea. February 12, 2019 Salton Sea Management and Restoration Efforts The Salton Sea in Southern California is the state’s largest inland body of water. In their paper, McNeece and Lynch surmised that much of the 1905 flooding came from the Gila River, a snowpack-fed river that originates in modern-day New Mexico before feeding into the Colorado River. Janet Wilson is senior environment reporter for The Desert Sun and writes the USA TODAY Climate Point newsletter. It must be made clear that the PEIR was developed separate from the SCH. "The species habitat conservation plan is permitted and ready to go." Overview; Projects; Expanded Course Description: This 5121L studio explores the nexus of land art, pattern generation, ecological restoration, dust mitigation, water policy, and social justice while choreographing the sublime on the corpse of the Salton Sea … At its regularly scheduled meeting on June 18, 2019, the State Water Board will hear an informational item consisting of a status update on Phase 1 of the Salton Sea Management Program from the California Natural Resources Agency pursuant to Water Board Order WR 2017-0134. But he said he completely understands the despair of ordinary people. It's one of the larger pieces of a stalled ten year pilot Salton Sea Management Plan to address increasing public health concerns and massive wildlife losses at California's largest inland water body. “I hope that people don’t dismiss the Salton Sea as unimportant with this silly rationale that it’s there by mistake," McNeece said. This recent photograph of the Salton Sea depicts a section of the southern shore with geothermal plants visible in the distance. The state was not able to complete the first year's target acreage in the 10-year management plan, and will miss the second year as well, Wilcox predicted. Supervisor Manuel Perez is pushing for restoration of the north end of the sea, the largest part of which is located in Imperial County. The state of California has only completed one dust suppression project covering 112 acres, but it has pledged hundreds of millions of dollars to restore wetland habitat and tamp down toxic dust blowing off exposed playa. But it’s also agricultural runoff, mixed with naturally salty Colorado River irrigation water, that is keeping the sea afloat, so to speak. (Credit: David McNew / Getty Images for Lumix) ... That's my concern, to not have these pilot projects fall into the same kind of trap.". In addition to the $180 million species habitat plan, which will largely be covered by bond funds, Wilcox said bulldozers will renew work on dust suppression projects within months, and the long-stalled Red Hill Bay project of about 530 acres should be finished by the end of this year or early next year. The 2003 agreement mandated that beginning in 2018, large amounts of water would be diverted from agricultural Imperial County to urban San Diego and Riverside counties. "That could be the state, that could be the federal government, or it could be a private landowner," he said. The Salton Sea is far below sea level and a canal from the Gulf could quickly fill it to any desired level while freshening it and possibly generating hydroelectric power … Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article. McNeece said that reframing the sea's origin story away from it being an accident is important because "the transfers that we have today from the Imperial Irrigation District out began with the notion that the IID was wasting water sending it to the Salton Sea.”. California, water. Restoration programs for the Salton Sea were linchpin issues for IID back in December when the organization tentatively agreed to sign the DCP, Schettler said. Created in 1993 the Salton Sea Authority is a Joint Powers Authority (JPA) responsible for working in consultation and cooperation with the State of California to oversee the comprehensive restoration of the Salton Sea. "Oh yeah, he does have a good case potentially," Wilcox said of DeLara. California isn't doing anything to stop it. Smaller-scale restoration projects at the Salton Sea are moving forward. “If the government doesn’t do anything about it and all the dust comes into our crops and kills them, well then, we have a pretty good case,” said Juan DeLara, risk manager for Federated Mutual Insurance, which leases 1,000 acres of farmland on the north end of the sea to a grower. After decades of false starts and false hopes, progress might finally be within reach for California’s Salton Sea – the state’s largest and most maligned lake. But he and other officials urged frustrated residents and advocates to hang in there. Spring 2019. The salty body of water first captured her attention 15 years ago when the birds that settled on its royal blue waters became her photography subjects. The Salton Sea shoreline slowly recedes away from the small community of Bombay Beach near Highway 86 on the sea's eastern shore in this aerial photograph, October 19, 2019. Past runoff from their fields included pesticides, herbicides and fertilizer discharge into the shimmering blue water body, which began life as an agricultural sump. White pelicans, which used to mass here by the tens of thousands during winter months, fly over the Salton Sea near Calipatria on Jan. 1, 2019. Nellie McConnell and her late husband built a house on the Salton Sea to enjoy their boat. As California’s largest lake, it stretches across almost 35 miles in a remote, below sea-level valley in the southeastern corner of the state. “Today’s action by the IID board will help these important projects cross the finish line.". May 7, 2019 May 8, 2019 MATTHEW RENDA. Obsidian Butte sits on the Salton Sea's southern shoreline in near geothermal energy plants in this aerial photograph, October 19, 2019. The Salton Sea is a shallow and salty lake inland of Los Angeles and south of Palm Springs that was created by an overflow of the Colorado River in the early 20th century. The next steps for the plan include finalizing the easement documents and seeking bids. The receding water level at the Salton Sea exposes an old boat ramp near Desert Shores, March 27, 2019. This agreement decreased agricultural runoff into the sea, worsening the current situation. The sea has few natural inlets of water and no natural outlets, and it is Pervaze A. Sheikh largely sustained by agricultural runoff from farmlands in the Imperial and Coachel a Specialist in Natural Val eys. Plan to fight drought in West hinges on $200 million Salton Sea restoration ... February 26, 2019 at 4:36 p.m. ... assistant secretary for Salton Sea … By January 2020, the salinity of the Salton Sea was double that of the Atlantic Ocean. 2019 EEO Report; Public File Help ... from an environmental improvement fund to support efforts to restore the dying Salton Sea. The Salton Sea in California (CN) – A major Southern California water purveyor paved the way Tuesday for a massive restoration project at the Salton Sea in an attempt to stave off ecological devastation and an unfolding public health disaster. … But 2019 brought a new state administration and new enthusiasm and even hope for the Salton Sea. We are better than this. The Salton Sea Ecosystem Restoration Program, Final Programatic Environmental Impact Report (PEIR) and Final Range of Alternatives purpose was to develop a preferred alternative by exploring alternative ways to restore important ecological functions of the Salton Sea that have existed for about 100 years. 2019 Annual Report on the Salton Sea Management Program Prepared for the State Water Resources Control Board (Order WR 2017-0134) March 2019 . All rights reserved. The state promised Salton Sea restoration back in 2003," he said. Revitalization News 35, September 15. 1 | Page ... collect and analyze data to inform future restoration actions at the Sea. These requirements are vague, strategically so. Location. Now we just need to move on to the next step.". The Summit is a multi-disciplinary Salton Sea conference, intended to attract a broad range of interests, promote an exchange of ideas, and develop new opportunities and partnerships. However the two trips I have made in the winter have been e... Read all 374 reviews. Residents see zero progress at Salton Sea, but new officials say it’s time to turn the page, Salton Sea fish and birds that fed on them wiped out this winter, Salton Sea fixes still lagging far behind schedule, Your California Privacy Rights / Privacy Policy. he asked. Salton Sea Restoration December 1, 2020 The Salton Sea—a lake located in Southern California—is the largest inland water body in the state. Editor's note: This story has been corrected to state David Lynch's proper occupation. Website +1 760-393-3052. Well-known Salton Sea origin story questioned by new research, suggesting it wasn't 'accidental', Best & Worst Refinance Mortgage Companies of 2021, Seniors Are Getting These Unsold 2020 SUVs For Dirt Cheap, A slam dunk if you need a balance transfer, © Jay Calderon and Richard Lui/The Desert Sun, © Jay Calderon and Omar Ornelas/The Desert Sun. The names on this petition will be presented to the Board Members Of The Salton Sea Authority at the September 19th meeting and is a request for the Salton … Organizers cancelled the event in light of the coronavirus, although they still published research that was to be presented. Whoever causes damage done by dust, Wilcox said, whether it contains contaminants or not, is who's responsible. The Salton Sea in California (CN) – A major Southern California water purveyor paved the way Tuesday for a massive restoration project at the Salton Sea in an attempt to stave off ecological devastation and an unfolding public health disaster. It's unclear on what specific legal grounds farmers could sue. At Tuesday's IID meeting, Imperial County's air pollution control officer, Matt Dessert, and community activist Eric Reyes both gave voice to those concerns. Full view. In this report, we discuss the changing conditions in and around the Sea, their statewide importance, and the Legislature’s role in overseeing projects to reduce potential negative effects on public health and wildlife. After more than a decade of negotiations, the Quantification Settlement Agreement came into effect in 2003. A meeting on the proposal is set for 11 a.m. on Oct. 15 at the yacht club, 9115 Sea View Drive in Mecca. Associated with the summit will be several optional field trips to the Salton Sea on October 16. A turkey vulture at the Salton Sea, seen near the Red Hill Bay restoration project site on Sept. 12, 2018. IID refused to approve the 2019 Drought Contingency Plan for the Lower Colorado River Basin without assurances related to restoration of the Salton Sea.9Although the plan eventually was approved and enacted without … Revitalization … As California’s largest lake, it stretches across almost 35 miles in a remote, below sea-level valley in the southeastern corner of the state. I'm sure it is less enjoyable when the temperature are over 100. I'm sure it is less enjoyable when the temperature are over 100. DeLara is also head of the Salton Sea Action Committee and would-be developer of a 4,900 acre housing, commercial and recreational project at the sea's north end. The Salton Sea is California’s largest inland lake, located in Riverside and Imperial Counties. "There’s a reluctance to spend huge amounts of money on a sea that people believe should not be there to begin with," Ross said. Natural wetlands cover portions of the Salton Sea's eastern shoreline just south of Bombay Beach in this aerial photograph, October 19, 2019. Contact. California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot agreed. The regularly scheduled meeting of the Salton Sea Authority (“Authority” or “SSA”) Board of Directors (“Board”) was called to order by Chairman Estrada, President, at 10:07 a.m., October 24, 2019, at the Imperial Irrigation District, Bill Condit Auditorium, 1285 Since 2003, there has been $653 million in federal, state and local funds authorized for Salton Sea mitigation and restoration projects. Imperial Valley officials say they are close to finishing an important habitat restoration project at the Salton Sea. The state promised Salton Sea restoration back in 2003," he said. The shrinking of the Salton Sea is a longer-term trend that was exacerbated by the largest rural-urban water transfer in the U.S., finalized in 2003. Are finally coming to the finish line? 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