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”

The Other Changing Sea Level

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In his final State of the Union address, President Obama put more emphasis on climate change than ever before [1]. Scientists no longer dispute the fact that humans are having an impact on the earth, and global leaders have come to an agreement that involves taking actions to fight climate change and mitigate its negative effects [2].

The impacts of climate change are already visible around the world, from extreme storms and fluctuating temperatures, to long droughts and threatened Continue reading “The Other Changing Sea Level”

New Year’s Resolutions for the Salton Sea

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Since the 1980s, several studies have been conducted and many options have been evaluated to address the impending environmental challenges posed by the Salton Sea’s current conditions. Unfortunately, minimal changes have been implemented to improve the harsh conditions that are ever worsening for the local communities and ecosystems. Here at Salton Sea Sense, we are hopeful that 2016 will be the year that the Salton Sea finally gets the attention it needs to provide remediation for the exposed playa and secure a bright future. Continue reading “New Year’s Resolutions for the Salton Sea”

Join us for the Christmas Bird Count!

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Every winter, local chapters of the National Audubon Society host Christmas Bird Counts all over the Americas. These counts attract tens of thousands of volunteers who participate in observing and collecting data to help assess the health of bird populations and ultimately guide conservation action. Continue reading “Join us for the Christmas Bird Count!”

A Clean Bill(s) of Health for Salton Sea Residents

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Last week, an article was published by KCET that addressed the question of Why Don’t Californians Care About Saving the Salton Sea? The authors conclude that the seemingly artificial nature of the Sea is what keeps it from gaining public support, especially by environmental activists. However, I would argue that the real issue with getting Californians to care about the Salton Sea is an issue of environmental justice. Residents of the Salton Sea region are among the poorest in the country, and simply don’t have the affluence to attract the level of attention that saving the Sea requires. In southern California, this makes it difficult to compete with the interests of neighborhoods like Beverly Hills and La Jolla.

However, we can see some progress being made to address these issues. Last month, California Governor Jerry Brown took action on some key legislation for the Coachella Valley, including the bills AB 2 and AB 1059. Continue reading “A Clean Bill(s) of Health for Salton Sea Residents”