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 Sea recedes, previously submerged lakebed is being exposed, creating dust that can be hazardous as it dries and becomes airborne.

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, 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.

Since early 2019, the State Team has significantly improved its capacity to deliver projects at the Sea. Informed by constructive input from community members, local leaders and interested groups, the team is working with partners to make substantial progress on the ground in 2020 to improve conditions for communities near the Sea. The state team also is working to improve transparency, engage community members in project planning and design, and incorporate local input in the SSMP project planning process.

News

Secretary Crowfoot, State Water Board Chair Esquivel Testify at Congressional Hearing on Federal Support for Salton Sea Projects

Salton Sea Management Program Update – September 29, 2020

Also: Salton Sea Management Program Seeks Applicants for Five Positions in Riverside and Imperial Counties

Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot and State Water Resources Control Board Chair Joaquin Esquivel testified before the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Water, Oceans and Wildlife at a virtual hearing September 24 on federal and state efforts to improve conditions at the Salton Sea.

The hearing focused on ways the federal government can partner with California to invest resources and advance efforts to address air quality impacts and loss of habitat as the Salton Sea recedes and lakebed continues to be exposed.

In his testimony, Secretary Crowfoot emphasized that the federal government – as a major landowner at the Sea – has a critical partnership role to play and urged federal agencies to expand investments at the Sea and support the state’s efforts by expediting permit reviews and approvals for state-led projects.

Chair Esquivel recounted some events and commitments since signing of the 2003 Quantification Settlement Agreement regarding California’s use of Colorado River water and outlined some recommended steps the federal government can take to help aid California’s efforts in improving conditions at the Sea.

Thomas Tortez, Jr., tribal council chairman for the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla and Salton Sea Authority director, also testified at the hearing.

Written testimony and a video recording of the hearing can be found at this link https://naturalresources.house.gov/hearings/federal-and-state-efforts-to-restore-the-salton-sea.

Salton Sea Management Program Seeks Applicants for Five Positions in Riverside and Imperial Counties

The Salton Sea Management Program (SSMP) team is currently recruiting candidates to fill four new positions and one existing vacancy located near the Salton Sea in Riverside and Imperial Counties. The four new posts are among 10 new full-time staff positions for the SSMP authorized in the 2020-21 state budget. The positions are housed within the California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA), the Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the Department of Water Resources (DWR).

Within CNRA, applicants are being sought for a new Deputy Assistant Secretary (Program Manager II) position, based in Riverside County, that will provide leadership and coordination on the SSMP and represent CNRA and Administration policies with the public and stakeholder groups and interface with federal, state and local agencies, boards, elected officials and tribal governments. The final filing date is October 5. The job announcement may be found at https://jobs.ca.gov/CalHrPublic/Jobs/JobPosting.aspx?JobControlId=217501.

CNRA also is seeking candidates for a new Public Information Officer II position that will be based in Imperial County and lead a new SSMP Office of Outreach and Communication in close coordination with DWR and DFW. Community engagement and outreach will be a key focus. The final filing date is October 5, and the announcement may be found at https://jobs.ca.gov/CalHrPublic/Jobs/JobPosting.aspx?JobControlId=217898.

CDFW is seeking applicants for two new positions with the Salton Sea program. A Senior Environmental Scientist (Supervisory) position, based in Riverside County, will supervise SSMP staff and help implement the SSMP Phase 1: 10-Year Plan, including the Species Conservation Habitat (SCH) project and dust suppression and habitat creation activities. The final filing date is October 15, and the job announcement may be found at https://www.jobs.ca.gov/CalHrPublic/Jobs/JobPosting.aspx?JobControlId=217728.

CDFW also is recruiting for a Fish and Wildlife Technician position to be based in Imperial County. The position is responsible for day-to-day workings of the program including vehicle and equipment operation and maintenance, and assisting with fish and wildlife surveying. The final filing date is October 18, and the job announcement may be found at https://www.jobs.ca.gov/CalHrPublic/Jobs/JobPosting.aspx?JobControlId=217599.

DWR is seeking applicants for an existing Program Manager I position to be based in Riverside County. The position may serve as Program Manager lead for the DWR Salton Sea Program and will support implementation of SSMP projects at the Salton Sea. The final filing date is October 2, and the job announcement may be found at https://www.jobs.ca.gov/CalHrPublic/Jobs/JobPosting.aspx?JobControlId=212861.

Interested applicants are encouraged to carefully read and follow all instructions for submitting their application.

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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.

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