3 - Expand and Prosper Set a medium-term plan to construct 18,000 acres to 25,000 acres of habitat and dust suppression projects. Managers and stakeholders are seeking solutions to the decline of the Sea and have turned to the scientific community for answers. Boons or boondoggles : An assessment of the Salton Sea water importation options. However, the damages to the Salton Sea habitat and the health of the vulnerable population residing in the region require immediate attention. Solutions for the Salton Sea. Under the direction of Governor Gavin Newsom, California state agencies are advancing projects at the Salton Sea to improve air quality and provide critical environmental habitat for birds along the Pacific flyway. However, they were not expecting California’s largest urban water user, Los Angeles’s Metropolitan Water District, to bypass the Imperial Irrigation District’s objection by agreeing to provide the Imperial Irrigation District’s share of water if needed. Its latest incarnation began at the turn of the 20th century, when the second lowest point in the United States was flooded by Colorado River water being brought into California for irrigation. But renewed attacks over the water transfer, and its effects on the Salton Sea, helped sink Kuhn’s bid for a fifth term in 2020. The Salton Sea Community Outreach, Education & Engagement Program (COEE) has been created to help children, students, school personnel, parents, local leaders and community-at-large learn about the Salton Sea, be aware of its current situation, understand the impacts it has on their health, be more participative in the decision making process and be aware of the short-term … First up is the badly delayed Salton Sea Management Plan. 65959 Harrison St. … Provide a healthy environment for residents around the Sea; Work toward a Salton Sea and bordering habitat that sustains enough aquatic life to provide habitat for wildlife on the Pacific flyway; Help revitalize the economy around the Salton Sea and in Imperial and Riverside Counties; Read the Salton Sea Funding and Feasibility Action Plan. The state of California has generated several, as of yet unfunded, proposals to fix the Sea. Another source of the aroma at Salton Sea is the hydrogen sulfide gas that brews in the mud at the bottom of the lake. The Salton Sea, California’s largest lake, is in decline, mainly due to ever decreasing water flows. Flooding may not be the most serious problem at Salton Sea, but it is among the most immediate. This paper has examined SB 277 the Salton Sea Restoration Act, which was intended to provide sustainable solutions to the many challenges. Metz S (2018). It wasn't until January 2016 that the California legislature approved $80 million for the Salton Sea — the state's largest-ever allocation. Our more recent work1 compares the costs of these two importation schemes: importing water from the Sea of Cortés and transferring agricultural water to the Salton Sea. Lucia Levers, University of Minnesota, US. While threats posed by conditions at Salton Sea are significant, solutions are neither easy nor inexpensive, and are clearly beyond the capabilities of local entities along. Population growth, drought, and climate change have led to increasing tension among agricultural, municipal, and environmental users of water in many regions. The Salton Sea is a shallow, saline, endorheic rift lake on the San Andreas Fault at the southern end of the U.S. state of California. Proposed Solutions. Brine shrimp will instead thrive for a time, but eventually the salinity will reach levels too high even for them9. Salton Sea Solutions In the tug-of-war of partisan politics, sometimes the independent voter can feel a bit neglected and left out of the political game. But the leading contender for a fix may prove to be only a short-term solution. September 4th, 2020. The GWF also provides open access resources, courses, and tools to help to understand water challenges. The levels of the main reservoirs on the Colorado have been dropping—and getting closer to triggering impressive water delivery cuts via agreements made during a time with less demand and more supply. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill meant to accelerate the distribution of money for Salton Sea restoration. The Lost River: Mexicans fight for mighty waterway taken by the US. Hold outs and hurdles The plan includes the construction of up to 30,000 acres of wetlands and bird habitat on the lake’s north and south ends, … The main source of this water is the Imperial Valley of California, an agricultural powerhouse with the greatest stake of Colorado River water rights – more than the total entitlements of Arizona, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and New Mexico – which it uses to nourish half a million acres of crops. But ultimately the $8.9-billion plan failed, too. For equivalent water flows, we estimated both the pipeline construction costs over the almost 300 kilometer distance between the two Seas (using values provided to the State of California) and the costs to generate equivalent flows from agricultural users, using the hydrologic-economic model developed in our earlier work11. Colorado River Basin Drought Contingency Plans. Fish and Wildlife Services (2011). Again, between $US28 and $US62 million are the comparative costs for transferring agricultural water to the Salton Sea. Main image: A heron in flight above foraging gulls on the Salton Sea. The region has hosted vast amounts of water in different forms over the years. (760) 399-5955. Hanak E, Lund J, Dinar A, Gray B, Howitt R (2011). The Salton Sea’s problems are symptomatic of problems across the Colorado River basin. Estimates of water use and trends in the Colorado River Basin, Southwestern United States, 1985–2010. A smaller Salton Sea likely means more dust, dangerous pollutants. [cited 2020 Jul 10]. At the beginning of last year (2019), the Imperial Irrigation District wanted to force the federal government to take some responsibility for the looming Salton Sea disaster and provide funding ($US200 million) for the Sea12. Estimates of the cost of these damages are $US11 to $US70 billion over the next 30 years10. Declining water levels expose previously submerged soils – playa – which are linked to increases in respiratory illnesses. But are such proposals projects of value or fool’s errands? The Salton Sea is about to shrink drastically. In the context of shrinking wetland habitats, the Salton Sea has become a critical habitat for migratory birds to stop and rest during their annual journeys. Levers LR, Skaggs TH, Schwabe KA (2019). Copyright 2017 © The Salton Sea Authority, Restoring Sea Access via North Shore Beach and Yacht Club, SB 272 Section 6270.5 Enterprise System Catalog, Meet a short-term goal of 9,000 acres to 12,000 acres of habitat and dust suppression projects, and. U.S. Propane & Natural Gas Gas Stations. Agriculture Economics Environment. (Image by Barbara Barry, 2006). For less water, but still a substantial amount and closer to recent flows (1 million acre-feet), importing water from México would cost between $US3.3 and $US6.7 billion initially plus $US6 to $US21 million per year. Salton Sea State Recreation Area Update (Dec. 7, 2020): California has issued a Regional Stay at Home Order to stop the surge of COVID-19 cases and prevent a strain on the health care system. Responding to growing public pressure to restore the Salton Sea, a multiagency government committee was created in 1993 known as the Salton Sea Authority to initiate, aid, and oversee restoration efforts. Wilson J (2019). Managing California ’ s Water From. Searching for a ‘fix’ Website. Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.’s Salton Sea Task Force, created in May 2015, has directed agencies to develop a comprehensive management plan for the Sea that will: The Financial Feasibility Action Plan serves as the foundation for the State’s comprehensive Salton Sea Management Program. Levers LR, Story SD & Schwabe KA (2020). While the agreement also mandated that the Imperial Irrigation District send fresh water to the Salton Sea —through 2017 —the Sea has been both shrinking and becoming more saline. Please see the Global Water Forum terms and conditions here. Welcome to the official website of the Salton Sea Authority. To avoid this potential outcome, water users on the Colorado negotiated the Drought Contingency Plan (DCP), which consists of voluntary usage cuts, allowing more water to remain in the reservoir—preventing the water level from dropping5. Sinclair. This plan would take years to become viable, even if implemented today. 10 questions about the 11 proposals to save the Salton Sea. Southern California's Salton Sea has lost much of the appeal it once enjoyed with tourists. The mighty Colorado has continued to sustain agriculture, providing irrigation for over 5 million acres annually in the US5, while allowing only a fraction of its flow to reach its historical destination—the Sea of Cortés (Gulf of California). The GWF is an online resource publishing concise, open-access articles from leading researchers on water governance, policy, and science.  The one hold out of this plan? The deepest point of th… The smell at Salton Sea comes from the fish die-offs. The Imperial Irrigation District. This approach builds upon decades of agriculture-to-urban water transfers in the region as well as the Quantification Settlement Agreement’s mitigation water transfer precedent (and is described in our previous work11). July 12, 2003. At the same time, endangered environmental and ecological resources represent a third sector, non-market, but not non-valuable. The challenges of water governance in the 21st century, Lucia Levers, University of Minnesota, US. Over the last century, while California and northern México lost 90 percent of their wetlands, the Salton Sea endured, courtesy of agricultural drainage water, and became critical habitat for millions of migratory birds, and year-round habitat for endangered and sensitive species, including the desert pupfish, Yuma clapper rail, and burrowing owl6,7. i) Flooding. The lake occupies the lowest elevations of the trough, known as the Salton Sink, where the lake surface is 236.0 ft (71.9 m) below sea levelas of January 2018. Even México agreed to potential reductions in deliveries, provided the DCP was adopted. There is no shortage of ideas about how to fix the Salton Sea. Agricultural water transfers, on the other hand, do have a history in the region, as well as the benefit of requiring no new infrastructure—physically, it would be a simple as letting the water flow. While only importing water from the Sea of Cortés is transnational, both would require a formal agreement. 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