County Officials Applaud New Salton Sea Funding

Newly announced state funding for the Salton Sea is expected to maximize habitat outcomes and provide immediate economic relief to the community.

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s $5.1 billion water infrastructure, drought response and climate resilience proposal, which he announced Monday as part of his $100 billion “California Comeback Plan,” includes $220 million for the Salton Sea.

At Tuesday’s Imperial County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, District 1 Supervisor Jesus Eduardo Escobar wanted to know what is meant by providing immediate economic relief to the community and how this would occur. He also asked if the $220 million was part of the master plan and whether the funds would be used for restoration purposes.

New River: Imperial County Looks at Options to Force Action

Imperial County officials are considering suing the federal government over continued inaction at the polluted New River.

Members of the Imperial County Board of Supervisors during their meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 23, discussed potentially suing the United States government or sending a strongly worded “demand” letter to federal officials to try to sway them to take action on building a wastewater treatment facility on the border to help clean the filthy waterway.

Proposed Salton Sea Funding Doesn’t Address Primary Concerns

EL CENTRO — Imperial County supervisors are well aware that Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed budget, that would include $220 million for the Salton Sea and the New River, comes with a catch.

A cornerstone of Newsom’s proposal, which aligns with his Water Resilience Portfolio, is a new $4.75 billion climate resilience bond that he wants on the November ballot.

Bruce Wilcox honored by members of the Salton Sea Authority

Salton Sea Authority Honors Bruce Wilcox for Years of Service

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.

Salton Sea Restoration Program is moving forward with a restoration project to benefit migratory birds.

A major habitat restoration project at the Salton Sea is set to start that would enhance habitat for migratory birds and cover more exposed sea bed. Photo: Water Authority

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.

Imperial County Declares Salton Sea Emergency, Demands California Take Action

Imperial County has had enough. That was the message from the county board of supervisors on Tuesday as they voted unanimously to declare a local state of emergency at the Salton Sea.

And that may not be all: In addition to the action on the state’s largest lake, supervisors said they will seek another emergency declaration on the badly polluted New River — which flows into the Salton Sea — in two weeks.