Salton Sea Management Program Update – March 13, 2020
Also: Proposition 68 Grant Approved for Community-Based Project at Salton Sea State Recreation Area; State Water Board Postpones March 18 Workshop on SSMP Status; March 19 Engagement Committee Meeting Postponed; Revised Community Engagement Plan Available for Comment; Community Members Provide Input on Draft Dust Suppression Action Plan – Comments Accepted through March 27
Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur of Ohio and Congressman Raul Ruiz of California joined state, local and federal agency representatives for a visit to the Salton Sea on March 7.
It was the first visit to the Sea for Kaptur, who chairs the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Water. The day included an overview of the Salton Sea Management Program and projects, including the Bruchard Road Dust Suppression Project completed in January and the 3,770-acre Species Conservation Habitat (SCH) project that will break ground later this year.
Stops included the North Shore Yacht Club, the Salton Sea State Recreation Area, Bombay Beach and the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge.
“I am committed to bringing additional federal resources to the Salton Sea,” Ruiz said. “Last weekend’s meeting focused on working together to break ground on new projects at the Sea to improve the health and lives of people in the area and across Southern California. I’d like to thank Chairwoman Kaptur, California Deputy Secretary Gibson, Assistant Secretary Arturo Delgado and Salton Sea Authority Executive Director Phil Rosentrater for their hard work to make this happen.”
Proposition 68 Grant Approved for Community-Based Project at Salton Sea State Recreation Area
The Coachella Valley Mountains Conservancy has approved a Proposition 68 grant to support a community-based design project to refurbish the Salton Sea State Recreation Area. The project, proposed by Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI) in cooperation with Alianza Coachella Valley, will identify near-term projects and create a vision for the future of the Recreation Area in partnership with California State Parks that provides culturally relevant programming and education and increased opportunity for resident involvement, creating the foundation for future project implementation.
The project, which will be completed over an 18-month period, will help create a more equitable, accessible and active Salton Sea State Recreation Area that extends park, recreation and environmental education options to the surrounding communities.
The Salton Sea Management Program team provided a letter of support for KDI’s grant application, which represents an important step forward in putting community projects on the ground at the Salton Sea. The $236,000 grant was approved at the Conservancy’s March 9 meeting.
State Water Board Postpones March 18 Workshop on SSMP Status
The State Water Resources Control Board has postponed the March 18 public workshop on the status of the Salton Sea Management Program (SSMP). Earlier this week, the State Water Board announced the workshop, originally set to take place in El Centro, would be moved to Sacramento in light of challenges associated with the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.
On Friday, March 13, the State Water Board issued a notice saying the workshop will now be postponed to a future date at a location near the Salton Sea.
In advance of the workshop, the California Natural Resources Agency posted its 2020 Annual Report on the Salton Sea Management Program in February. The report provides a summary of recent and planned activities by the SSMP to address air quality and ecological threats at the Sea. It also summarizes planning activities, partnerships and community engagement efforts.
March 19 Engagement Committee Meeting Postponed; Revised Community Engagement Plan Available for Comment
After conferring with Engagement Committee Co-Chairs Silvia Paz and Rebecca Terrazas-Baxter, the SSMP team has decided to postpone the March 19 SSMP Engagement Committee meeting in El Centro due to challenges associated with novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. The team hopes to reschedule the meeting in the near future.
The State team looks forward to receiving further input and discussing next steps with the Engagement Committee as soon as the coronavirus allows.
Community Members Provide Input on Draft Dust Suppression Action Plan; Comments Accepted through March 27
The Salton Sea Management Program held three public meetings this February and March in Westmorland, Bombay Beach and Thermal to gather community input on the State’s draft Dust Suppression Action Plan (DSAP). As part of the 10-Year Plan, the DSAP aims to identify and prioritize the implementation of approximately 8,200 acres of dust control projects at the sea by the end of 2022. The plan is based on extensive data from Imperial Irrigation District (IID) and will expedite projects through a streamlined planning and permitting process.
As part of this effort, the State has committed to a robust public engagement program to make the DSAP a community-driven plan. Public meetings held in December 2019 in Mecca and Salton City provided input on how dust affects local residents and the potential locations and methods for dust suppression projects. This feedback assisted the State in developing the draft DSAP that proposes to complete 3,800 acres of dust suppression projects by 2020 on lakebed sites that have the potential to be highly emissive. The community meetings were held in some of the communities closest to the proposed projects in the draft DSAP and resulted in additional feedback for the State planning team.
The presentation and handout from the community meetings will be available soon on the new SSMP website www.SaltonSea.ca.gov. Written comments on the draft plan will be accepted through March 27. Comments may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. A final plan will be released by May and will serve as a “living document” that will be refined over time through monitoring and adaptative management, as well as continued engagement with the community.