Tag Archive for: Salton Sea Management Program

Salton Sea Partnership Calls on Newsom to Commit to Measurable Progress at Salton Sea

In response to comments by California Governor Gavin Newsom, touring the Salton Sea on Monday, March 20 with California Natural Resources Agency Secretary Wade Crowfoot, according to a press release from the Salton Sea Partnership, the Salton Sea Partnership issued the following statement:

“The governor’s visit to the Salton Sea is heartening, and we’re encouraged by Secretary Crowfoot’s commitment to fill the position vacated in August by Salton Sea Management Program head Arturo Delgado in a matter of days.

Drought and Water Supply: A Year in Review

Drought and water supply in the Southwest U.S. dominated the water news in 2021, from the Colorado River Basin to California.

COVID-19 continued its grasp on all aspects of life in 2021. Even in the face of the pandemic, the work of providing water as an essential service continued for every agency with the responsibility of making sure their constituents have the water they need to sustain their communities, farms and businesses.

Drought: Shortage declaration on Lake Mead

This past year highlighted the challenges statewide and throughout the Colorado River Basin associated with providing that water service in the face of a twenty-year drought on the river, yet agencies continued to meet the demands for water. The critical story of 2021 on the Colorado River was the shortage declaration for the upcoming year on Lake Mead, the reservoir serving the river’s Lower Basin. A key element of this story is that while California is not affected by the current shortage declaration, the Lower Basin is moving forward with steps to try to protect the reservoir from further declarations. The effort to meet water needs is continuing with an eye toward finding resolutions to challenges and to address those challenges in a way that is mutually beneficial.

Water supply: Conserved Water Transfer Agreement

While the drought has been a dominating issue, there are several other critical water matters. An important water story this year was the ramping up of the Conserved Water Transfer Agreement between the Imperial Irrigation District and the San Diego County Water Authority to its full allotment of 200,000 acre-feet per year. The water transfer, which is the cornerstone of the Quantification Settlement Agreement, is provided through a conservation program implemented in the Imperial Valley by IID and the Valley’s farming community and funded by the Water Authority. This water, coupled with 77,700 acre-feet from the lining of the All-American and Coachella Canals, remains an important supply of water for the San Diego community while providing the Valley the funding it needs to implement water conservation.

With the state moving forward with Phase I of its Salton Sea Management Program, there were positive steps toward restoration work at the Salton Sea in 2021. Additionally, the QSA Joint Powers Authority (JPA), made of up IID, SDCWA, the Coachella Valley Water District, and the state, continued its mitigation projects meant to address the specific environmental impacts of the QSA. While challenges continue at the sea, both the state’s restoration work and the separate but complimentary QSA JPA mitigation effort show the sea is a priority issue, and one where all involved will have to continue to monitor to make sure progress continues.

Imperial Valley-Drought-Water Supply-Colorado River Basin-Imperial Irrigation District-QSA

A collage of photographs from the water-related issues covered in the water blog of the Imperial-San Diego Currents website and the Community Spotlight section of the site. Photo: San Diego County Water Authority

Share your stories

Look to this website for more community features as well as water stories in 2022, as there will likely be no shortage of stories to share. This site is meant to be a benefit to the community, so this writer would ask the community that if you have ideas for Community Spotlight stories in 2022, send a message either through this site or directly to the writer, Darren Simon, at . Likewise, if there are questions you have on water matters or would like to see a water-related issue addressed on this site, contact us through the site or the email provided above.

(Editor’s Note: Darren Simon posts stories featuring water issues in the Imperial Valley, the Colorado River Basin and San Diego County, on the website Imperial-San Diego Currents: https://ivsandiegocurrents.org/)

Long Troubled Salton Sea May Finally Be Getting What it Most Needs: Action – and Money

State work to improve wildlife habitat and tamp down dust at California’s ailing Salton Sea is finally moving forward. Now the sea may be on the verge of getting the vital ingredient needed to supercharge those restoration efforts – money.

The shrinking desert lake has long been a trouble spot beset by rising salinity and unhealthy, lung-irritating dust blowing from its increasingly exposed bed. It shadows discussions of how to address the Colorado River’s two-decade-long drought because of its connection to the system. The lake is a festering health hazard to nearby residents, many of them impoverished, who struggle with elevated asthma risk as dust rises from the sea’s receding shoreline.

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.

Tired of Waiting on Salton Sea Fixes, Desert Shores Residents Take a Stand

These days, the house where Donna and John Winters planned to retire in the Southern California desert reflects in a stagnant pool of blood red water, their dream home becoming something of a nightmare.

Opinion: Eastern Coachella Valley Residents Urge the State for Action on the Salton Sea

We represent a group of East Coachella Valley residents optimistic about the future of the Salton Sea and the surrounding communities. That is why we are working to ensure our communities see meaningful benefits from the sea’s restoration.

On Sept. 30, we sent a letter to state officials requesting that restoration projects coming out of the Salton Sea Management Program consider the potential impacts on nearby communities. We hope those officials will share in our vision of reforestation and green spaces around the Salton Sea, see the benefits of such projects in addressing the sea’s deteriorating environmental conditions, and act with the same urgency.

Have An Idea for How to Fix the Salton Sea? The State Wants Your Input This Month

Do you have an idea for how to address the public health and environmental crises around the Salton Sea? Are you concerned the state is far behind on implementing solutions? You can let them know this month.

The California Natural Resources Agency announced it will be hosting a new round of public engagement sessions in September to get input to assist in the development of wildlife habitat restoration and dust suppression projects for the Salton Sea Management Program’s 10-year plan.

IID Files Opening Brief in Lawsuit Against MWD

Following the Imperial Irrigation District’s recent win on a monumental water case in California’s appellate court against Michael Abatti, the water district is back in court filing the opening brief against the other large water district is Southern California, the Metropolitan Water District.

Last March, MWD took the unprecedented move to cut IID out of intrastate negotiations on the Drought Contingency Plan, promising to pay IID’s water bill to Lake Mead if water elevations shrank to 1,074 feet, triggering California’s response to the drought.

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.

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.