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Salton Sea Sense

A resource for California's largest lake and potential environmental catastrophe

Federal Support for the Salton Sea

In 2007, Senator Barbara Boxer, along with other sponsors, pushed to pass the Water Resources Development Act into law, overriding a presidential veto. In addition to other projects across the country, the bill laid out several steps for designing and implementing a series of pilot projects to investigate ways of avoiding and mitigating the possible impacts of the drying Salton Sea. First, pilot projects would be chosen based on their feasibility as described in the Department of Water Resources’ funding plan. Then, appropriate pilot projects—if approved by the state and the Salton Sea Authority—would be implemented with the state paying 35% of the cost and federal funding supplying the rest. The bill concludes with a federal spending authorization: $30,000,000, intended for the support of at least six separate pilot projects. Continue reading “Federal Support for the Salton Sea”

Salton Sea and the New Normal

Last month, Salton Sea Sense had the opportunity to host and hear from Michael Cohen, Senior Research Associate at the Pacific Institute. The Pacific Institute aims to provide science-based leadership and outreach to inform public water policy, and Cohen has been working specifically on the Salton Sea since 1998. He recently published an excellent Institute blog post on the current “fortunes and prospects” at the Sea, which is available here.

In his talk at UC Riverside, Cohen outlined some of the challenges that continue to face the Salton Sea. One of those challenges is the perception of Sea as an “artificial” ecosystem, which we have previously blogged about. Cohen pointed out that the whole of the State of California’s water is part of a managed system that includes man-made aqueducts, reservoirs and pumps. The Salton Sea is an essential part of this system as one of the last remaining aquatic habitat options in the southwestern United States for birds on the Pacific Flyway. Continue reading “Salton Sea and the New Normal”

Year in Review

This week, Salton Sea Sense is celebrating its one-year anniversary of blogging about the ecological, environmental, and cultural value of the Salton Sea. We have had the opportunity to explore and enjoy the Sea, meet passionate community members and informative stakeholders, and engage in a wide range of science and policy-making conversations on the future of the Sea. Plus, we have had a lot of fun doing it.

Here are the most popular Salton Sea Sense blog posts for the past year: Continue reading “Year in Review”

S.O.S: The Military and the Salton Sea

The Salton Sea is home to a diverse group of people, but the two most controversial groups are the ones you don’t see. Evidence of both groups can be found at the infamous make-shift town of Slab City, which is home to retired snowbirds and squatters and a former home of the US Marine Corp. Slab City is built upon the former grounds of the abandoned WWII training site, Camp Dunlap. As highlighted by Denise Goolby in The Desert Sun, the Salton Sea has had a major military presence since WWII [1]. The US Navy is the biggest military force at the Sea, where the site has been used to train Naval airmen for decades. The Naval Air Facility El Centro and the Chocolate Mountain Aerial Gunnery Range are still active in the region with the Gunnery Range being one of the most important Navy and Marine training sites in the country due to its remote location and desert conditions similar to the Middle East [2]. Continue reading “S.O.S: The Military and the Salton Sea”

Powell’s Premonition

The panel discussion we hosted at UC Riverside highlighted the growing effort to coordinate local, state, and federal entities in an attempt to save the Salton Sea.  However, it also highlighted some of the glaring reasons that efforts to manage the Sea have consistently come up short. The Salton Sea has long suffered from dual problems: conflicting interests amongst stakeholders and lack of a distinct, legally responsible party. These compounding problems are not isolated to the Salton Sea. In fact they are the two most common problems in poorly managed water resources today.      Continue reading “Powell’s Premonition”

A Case for Coachella Conservation

As we have discussed before, the majority of Colorado River water distributed to California is allocated for agriculture. The Coachella Valley next to the Salton Sea represents one of the most productive agricultural regions in California and it is there where the majority of the water goes, with about 280,000 acre-feet of Colorado River water delivered annually. Dealing with a combination of water allocations, the Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) is in a tight spot trying to meet state-mandated water use regulations while providing water to its increasing population. Continue reading “A Case for Coachella Conservation”

Salton Sea Discussion Panel: February 4, 2016

Continue reading “Salton Sea Discussion Panel: February 4, 2016”

Discussing the Future of the Salton Sea

Last Thursday the NSF WaterSENSE IGERT program, UC Riverside School of Public Policy and Salton Sea Sense had the distinct pleasure of hosting a panel discussion consisting of:

The panelists were able to offer the federal, state, and local perspective on the future of the Salton Sea, and they all expressed a lot of hope and excitement. Continue reading “Discussing the Future of the Salton Sea”

Fun in the Salton Sun

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There has been a recent surge in interest in recreation at the Salton Sea, including the upcoming SEAthletes SEATalk and North Shore Xtreme recreation event, aimed at bringing more public attention to the Sea. However, this is only one chapter in a long history of public recreation at the Salton Sea. Continue reading “Fun in the Salton Sun”

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