Construction Begins on Otay River Estuary Restoration Project in South Bay

Construction began Friday on a project aimed at restoring around 125 acres of coastal wetlands and salt marsh habitat in the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

The Otay River Estuary Restoration Project, a joint effort of desalination developer Poseidon Resources, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and other agencies, seeks to restore salt ponds located within the refuge in order to create new habitat for native fish, wildlife and plant species. Among the species most impacted by the loss of coastal habitats are migratory shorebirds and other salt marsh-dependent species, according to officials.

California Spends $12.8M More on the Salton Sea, Finally Appoints Analyst to Study Seawater Importation

California remains far behind its targets for addressing exposed playa around the Salton Sea, according to data released in the 2021 Salton Sea Management Program annual report. But state officials expressed optimism in a public workshop that they are finally beginning to catch up to those goals.

The state was supposed to implement dust suppression projects or build wetlands habitat across 3,500 acres of exposed playa by the end of 2020 to tamp down dust that’s imbued with a century’s worth of salts, pesticides and other agricultural runoff. Only 755 acres around the mouth of the New River had been completed in that timeframe, although 2020 represented the first year that any state-led dust mitigation projects was finished at the lake.

Bezos Earth Fund Gives Salk $30 Million for Climate Change Mitigation Project

Salk’s Harnessing Plants Initiative will receive $30 million from the Bezos Earth Fund to advance efforts to increase the ability of crop plants, such as corn and soybeans, to capture and store atmospheric carbon via their roots in the soil. This work will explore carbon-sequestration mechanisms in six of the world’s most prevalent crop species with the goal of increasing the plants’ carbon-storage capacity.

California Still Hasn’t Found Analyst to Study Salton Sea Water Import Proposals It Asked For

Long-term fixes for the ever-shrinking Salton Sea remain stalled as California Natural Resources Agency officials on Wednesday revealed they have been unable to find an analyst to study proposed solutions to a nearly two decades-old problem.

Eleven different plans, submitted in 2018, suggested methods of importing water from the Sea of Cortez or the Pacific Ocean to decrease salinity and reverse water losses at the Salton Sea, which have exposed a toxic playa laced with pesticides and other pollutants. Although some researchers who study the lake write off the plans as financial and logistical pipe dreams, CNRA still needs to study them as part of the process to determine a long-term solution.