Improving Conditions at California’s 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.

Flows into the Salton Sea have declined in recent years, and the result is a shrinking, increasingly saline lake. As the Salton Sea recedes, previously submerged lakebed is being exposed, creating dust that is of concern to local communities.

The California Natural Resources Agency, the California Department of Water Resources and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife are focused on implementing the Salton Sea Management Program (SSMP), which includes a 10-year plan that aims to improve conditions by constructing 30,000 acres of habitat and dust suppression projects around the Sea.

At the same time, the SSMP team works to establish a long-term pathway for the Salton Sea beyond the next decade, including work to evaluate the feasibility of water importation as a strategy for restoration of the Salton Sea.

Since early 2019, the SSMP team has significantly improved its capacity to deliver projects at the Salton Sea. Informed by constructive input from community members, local leaders and interested groups, the team continues to work with partners to implement projects to improve conditions near the Salton Sea and institutionalize inclusive community engagement within and across SSMP projects.

News

Community Engagement Committee Meets

Salton Sea Management Update – September 28, 2021

Also: Welcome Deputy Assistant Secretary Mario Llanos; Species Conservation Habitat Project Update; Recordings of Recent Community Meetings Available

The Community Engagement Committee of the Salton Sea Management Program (SSMP) meets September 29.

UPDATE: View the meeting here, or below

The Committee meets regularly to coordinate outreach and engagement strategies for upcoming public community meetings. The SSMP team collaborates with the Community Engagement Committee to ensure that proper and effective outreach methods are intentionally used to reach the frontline communities of the Salton Sea Region.

The committee is updating the Engagement Committee charter to develop and maintain a program that enables consistent two-way communication, creates opportunities for community members to share concerns and provide input, and ultimately contributes to delivery of projects that improve conditions for communities around the Salton Sea.

Join us by using Zoom.

September 29, 2021
10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84885824143

Or telephone:
866 390 1828 US Toll-free
Conference code: 787909

Welcome Deputy Assistant Secretary Mario Llanos

Secretary Mario LlanosMario Llanos is the new Deputy Assistant Secretary for the California Natural Resources Agency Salton Sea Management Program. Llanos is originally from Imperial County. He is excited to return home to make a positive impact in the community from which he grew up.

In his leadership role, Llanos will interface with stakeholders and local leaders to advance projects that improve ecosystem health and protect air quality.

Llanos has led high-performing teams at the Department of Parks and Recreation for the City of San Diego. As district manager, he administered maintenance operations and budget, oversaw a Park Ranger Program, and led project management and coordination in historically and culturally significant parks, such as Balboa Park and Presidio Park in San Diego.

Species Conservation Habitat Project Update

Species Conservation Habitat Project UpdateOther ongoing work includes, environmental compliance and cultural monitoring, drying soils for future berm construction, and preparing temporary ponds for construction water needs.

The SCH Project is at the southern end of the Salton Sea. As the state’s first large-scale project, it will create a network of ponds and wetlands to provide important fish and bird habitat. Also, it will suppress dust emissions, improving air quality as the Salton Sea continues to recede. The project will cover more than 4,100 acres and is expected to be completed in 2023.

Recordings of Recent Community Meetings Available

Recordings of Recent Community Meetings AvailableIf you missed the recent SSMP community meetings, recordings are available in English and Spanish.

The meetings provided an opportunity to share experiences, meet new members of the SSMP team, hear more about the process to study water importation concepts and learn more about the long-range planning process the state has launched.

The meetings were August 31 and September 2. The meetings cover the same topics, but took place at different times to make it more convenient for people to participate.

If you would like to view the meetings in English use the following links:

08/31 – https://youtu.be/6VrIou2xjyA
09/02 – https://youtu.be/5P4tVgvMuVY

For Spanish recordings, use these links:

08/31/21   https://youtu.be/bCHcxeFV0Wk
09/02/21   https://youtu.be/-3ft62Uu5b4

For updates from the SSMP team, sign up for the Salton Sea Management Program newsletter.

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To sign up to receive Salton Sea Community Updates, please click here.

Community Meetings Set for This Week

Salton Sea Management Program Update – August 31, 2021

Also: SSMP Welcomes New Team Members

Join the Salton Sea Management Program (SSMP) for a community meeting this afternoon or September 2 in the evening.

The meetings provide an opportunity to share experiences, meet new members of the SSMP team, hear more about the process to study water importation concepts and learn more about the long-range planning process the state is launching.

The August 31 meeting begins at 2 p.m. The September 2 meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. Spanish interpretation will be provided.

Attendees will be able to access the meetings through these links at Zoom, Facebook Live (Spanish only), or call in by telephone (888-278-0296, access code 596019). For more information, visit www.saltonsea.ca.gov or email cnra-saltonsea@resources.ca.gov.

SSMP Welcomes New Team Members

To continue delivering critical projects around the Salton Sea, the SSMP is adding two new members to the team.

Photo of James Newcomb

James Newcomb

James Newcomb will serve as an Assistant Deputy Director and lead the Salton Sea team at the Department of Water Resources (DWR) and work with leadership across state government beginning Sept. 1.

Newcomb is an environmental program manager at DWR. He has worked primarily in habitat restoration. He led the development of the Yolo Bypass Salmonid Habitat Restoration and Fish Passage Implementation plan and has been critical in implementing new infrastructure in the Yolo Bypass to create improved habitat for salmon and sturgeon.

Photo of Miguel Hernández

Miguel Hernández

Starting Sept. 1, life-long Imperial Valley resident Miguel Hernández will be the SSMP’s new public affairs officer at the California Natural Resources Agency.

Hernández will be stationed in Imperial County and will lead the SSMP’s local outreach and communications efforts.

Hernández previously worked as the communications coordinator at Comité Cívico del Valle, a community-based organization that works on environmental justice throughout California. In this capacity, he served as the community chair for the Imperial Valley and East Coachella Valley Environmental Justice Enforcement Task Force, oversaw and coordinated the Salton Sea Community Outreach, Education, and Engagement program, and led advocacy efforts for environmental justice issues affecting disadvantaged communities in California.

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To sign up to receive Salton Sea Community Updates, please click here.

Visit the State of California Department of Public Health online for all the latest publicly available information and guidance on the COVID-19 virus Visit the State of California
Department of Public Health online
for all the latest publicly available information
and guidance on the COVID-19 virus

Message from Wade Crowfoot, Secretary, Natural Resources Agency

The California Natural Resources Agency is committed to improving conditions for the people who live near the Salton Sea. We are working with our federal, state and local partners to accelerate progress on the Salton Sea Management Program’s 10-year plan. We support a transparent process with clearly defined goals and measurable objectives aligned with available fiscal and hydrological resources. Progress made by the program is overseen by the State Water Resources Control Board and the California Air Resources Board.

Please sign up to receive regular email updates about the Salton Sea Management Program.