The Salton Sea Authority honored out-going Assistant Secretary of Salton Sea Policy Bruce Wilcox during the Authority’s October 24 board meeting. Wilcox was at the meeting when the Authority’s Board of Directors unanimously passed a resolution recognizing his efforts to improve the Salton Sea.
He was appointed to serve as assistant secretary within the California Natural Resources Agency in 2015 and assigned to work on Salton Sea restoration efforts. His appointment followed the formation of the Salton Sea Task Force.
Under his leadership, Wilcox helped guide the Salton Sea Management Program, the state’s phased approach to restoration at the sea. The program is intended to guide investments to protect public health and improve the ecosystem of the Salton Sea.
Restoration plans include the 3,770 acre Species Conservation Habitat project on the southeastern shore, a wetlands project at Red Hill Bay, also on the southeastern side, and the proposed 3,000-acre North Lake project on the northern end of the sea.
Bruce Wilcox advances Salton Sea restoration
In accepting the resolution in his honor, Wilcox said there were positive steps forward toward implementing the projects. He also said he hopes to stay involved with the Salton Sea. During his tenure as the first Assistant Secretary for Salton Sea Policy, Wilcox worked tirelessly to advance restoration of the sea.
The California Natural Resources Agency is working to implement the Phase 1 10-year restoration program but is also looking at other mid-term and long-term restoration efforts. Arturo Delgado, who formerly worked on Salton Sea issues under the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, has been appointed as the new assistant secretary assigned to the Salton Sea.
Dust suppression projects planned
During a recent two-day summit on the Salton Sea held at the Palm Desert campus of University of California, Riverside, Delgado announced plans for 9,000 acres of dust suppression projects at the sea, an attempt to meet missed annual targets for addressing exposed playa over the first three years of the restoration program. The first 200 acres of dust suppression projects, to be located near where the New River flows into the sea, could get under way before the end of this year.
The Imperial County Board of Supervisors recently declared a local state of emergency at the Salton Sea. County officials say the move is intended to speed up the permitting process for restoration projects and get additional federal and state funding to improve the health of the sea.