After years of delays, California’s plans for the shrinking Salton Sea are finally starting to take shape. A $383 million plan released by the state’s Natural Resources Agency on Thursday lays out a schedule for building thousands of acres of ponds and wetlands that will cover up stretches of dusty lakebed and create habitat for birds as the lake recedes.
Archive for date: March 16th, 2017
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California Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration on Thursday proposed spending nearly $400 million over 10 years to slow the shrinking of the state’s largest lake just as it is expected to evaporate an accelerated pace.The plan involves building ponds on the northern and southern ends of the Salton Sea, a salty, desert lake that has suffered a string of environmental setbacks since the late 1970s. During its heyday of international speed boat races, it drew more visitors than Yosemite National Park and celebrities including Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and the Beach Boys.
Mitch Brown jammed the blade of his loader into a two-story pile of snow outside Donner Ski Shop, the sports rental store he runs in Soda Springs. From there, Old Highway 40 toward bustling ski resorts was lined with walls of snow more than 20 feet high. “It snowed nearly 24 feet in 12 days,” Brown said recently. “We’ve been working 18-hour days to clear it.”
Badly needed fixes to Tijuana’s wastewater system — which recently leaked millions of gallons of raw sewage into the Pacific Ocean, fouling beaches as far north as Coronado — may have to wait. President Trump’s proposed budget released Thursday slashes funding for the Environmental Protection Agency by a whopping $5.7 billion dollars or 31 percent. Those cuts include dollars for the U.S.-Mexico Border Water Infrastructure Grant Program, which officials in San Diego and elsewhere hoped would help fix Tijuana’s aging sewer pipes and an ailing water treatment facility along the coast of Baja California.
California, long burdened by a severe drought, is coming off one if its wettest winters in almost 20 years — but that doesn’t mean its water woes will be left behind. The Sierra Nevada snowpack, which provides 60 percent of the state’s water, held an unusually immense amount of snow in January, according to data released Tuesday. That means more water for the region in the coming months. However, experts warned the abundance of the season was just an anomaly, not something to be counted on as the climate gets progressively warmer overall.
San Diego gets most of its water supply from far away. About a fifth of it comes from Northern California. Gov. Jerry Brown has big ideas for making sure Southern California can continue drinking water from its northern neighbor. He wants to build two 35-mile underground tunnels 150 feet underground to keep water flowing south. The price tag would be at least $17 billion. Once a big supporter of the plan, the San Diego County Water Authority is now among its biggest skeptic.
In the weeks and months to come, investigators will no-doubt probe many potential reasons for the near-catastrophic failures at Oroville Dam in February. Those will range from decisions made more than 50 years ago, to the truly extraordinary weather of 2017. But for the moment, the emergency at Oroville Dam has largely passed. The 180,000 people who were evacuated from their homes last month have returned, and construction crews continue to put millions of tons of rocks and concrete across a badly eroded hillside under the emergency spillway.
Air-quality officials are working with repair crews at California’s damaged Oroville Dam spillway after the discovery of naturally occurring asbestos there. The California Department of Water Resources said Thursday that authorities found the asbestos in what it said were limited areas at the site. Work crews currently are removing tons of rocks, earth and other debris that washed to the base of the Oroville spillway last month after a large part of the spillway failed.
Marysville, Calif., farmer Brad Foster stood at the eroded edge of the Feather River recently and contemplated how he was going to pull his water pumps out of the soggy, collapsed river bank. “We’ll have to recover them somehow,” said Foster, 58, who owns about 500 acres of walnut orchards in Yuba County. “Those are stationary pumps. They’ve been there 50 years.” In all his years of farming, Foster said he’d never seen such severe and widespread erosion along the winding waterway. “This is not normal,” he said.
California Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration on Thursday proposed spending nearly $400 million over 10 years to slow the shrinking of the state’s largest lake just as it is expected to evaporate an accelerated pace. The plan involves building ponds on the northern and southern ends of the Salton Sea, a salty, desert lake that has suffered a string of environmental setbacks since the late 1970s. During its heyday of international speed boat races, it drew more visitors than Yosemite National Park and celebrities including Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and the Beach Boys.