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

Long Range Plan Committee to Meet May 4

The Long-Range Planning Committee is convening over Zoom on Wednesday, May 4, at 9:30 a.m.

The SSMP Team plans to cover the following topics:

  • Review hydrology for previously proposed restoration concepts
  • Discuss updates to restoration concepts, including new concepts proposed
  • Preview upcoming LRP public workshop

Community members are welcome to attend and share their comments during the public comment period.

SSMP Long-Range Committee Meeting

Wednesday, May 4, 2022, 9:30 a.m. Pacific Time

Please click the link below to join the webinar:

https://ca-water-gov.zoom.us/j/83805188389

Or join over telephone by dialing:

USA 214 765 0479 US Toll

USA 888 278 0296 US Toll-free

Conference code: 596019

AgendaPresentation

Public Meeting link and other materials will also be uploaded to the SSMP website at saltonsea.ca.gov.

If you have any questions or comments please contact: Cnra-saltonsea@resources.ca.gov

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Independent Review Panel Update: Screening Report Completed – Monday, April 11

This informational zoom meeting presents the results of the first review of concepts for water importation that were submitted as part of the State’s 2017 RFI and the Panel’s 2021 RFI. The Screening Report identifies which concepts provided sufficient information to be evaluated and involved importation methods. The meeting will be hosted by Project Coordinator Azucena Beltran and feature project PI Brent Haddad on behalf of the Panel. Professor Haddad will also provide an update and overview of the entire Panel process. Spanish interpretation will be available.

Monday, April 11, 5:30 – 6:30 pm

Download Meeting Flyer: English | Español

Click here to join the Zoom meeting:

https://ucsc.zoom.us/j/96127855602?pwd=OFN2U2RnMVJGejJKb01XYTUvcExFQT09

Meeting ID: 961 2785 5602Password: 827894

NEW: Independent Review Panel Screening Report Public Meeting – April 11


Annual Report Workshop

CONFIRMED for Tuesday, April 12

NEW: Workshop Presentation and Public Meeting – April 12

Recently, the SSMP team released its 2022 Annual Report and is inviting community members and all interested parties to a virtual community meeting on Tuesday, April 12 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. The team will provide an in-depth presentation of the 2022 Annual Report and welcome any questions that arise from this presentation. The workshop will be hosted in English with Spanish interpretation.

Click here to join the meeting: https://ca-water-gov.zoom.us/j/88378080885

Teleconference Dial in: 888-278-0296  | Access Code: 596019

Tuesday, April 12, 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Download Meeting Flyer: English | Español

Download the Agenda: English | Español

The SSMP Annual Report is available for review in both English and Spanish at SaltonSea.ca.gov.

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Save the Date for Upcoming Engagement Opportunities and Events for the Salton Sea

Also: Community Meeting–SSMP Update and Overview of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Process and how it relates to the SSMP 10-Year Plan – Wednesday, March 30; Independent Review Panel Update–Screening Report Completed – Monday, April 11; Annual Report Pre-Workshop Tentatively Set for Tuesday, April 12; State Water Resources Control Board Annual Workshop on Salton Sea

Salton Sea Management Program Update – March 22, 2022

The Salton Sea Management Program (SSMP) team continues to place a strong focus on meaningful community engagement throughout the program. The team is coordinating public events to further inform the community about projects around the Salton Sea, as well as to create spaces for community members to familiarize themselves with the processes that are part of the SSMP’s Phase I: 10-Year Plan.

This list includes events that are being planned and coordinated by the SSMP team and other events coordinated by various entities and partners around Salton Sea topics.

Download the SSMP Update Community Meeting Agenda (English) (Espanol)

Watch the Meeting (recorded earlier):

 

Download the SSMP Update Community Meeting Agenda (English) (Espanol)

 

For questions on these events email cnra-saltonsea@resources.ca.gov


Community Meeting: SSMP Update and Overview of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Process and how it relates to the SSMP 10-Year Plan – Wednesday, March 30

The SSMP invites community members and all interested parties to a virtual community meeting on Wednesday, March 30. The team will provide an overview of the federal process now underway to consider how projects at the Salton Sea may affect the environment. There are opportunities for the public to provide input on a draft Environmental Assessment that is anticipated to be released in April. The webinar will also explain the process of submitting comments, how comments are considered, and the importance of the public to use this opportunity that will help shape the future of the Salton Sea. This Community meeting will also provide an update on the SSMP Committees and a brief overview of the 2022 SSMP Annual Report. The meeting flyer and additional details for this virtual meeting are forthcoming.


Independent Review Panel Update: Screening Report Completed – Monday, April 11

This informational zoom meeting presents the results of the first review of concepts for water importation that were submitted as part of the State’s 2017 RFI and the Panel’s 2021 RFI. The Screening Report identifies which concepts provided sufficient information to be evaluated and involved importation methods. The meeting will be hosted by Project Coordinator Azucena Beltran and feature project PI Brent Haddad on behalf of the Panel. Professor Haddad will also provide an update and overview of the entire Panel process. Spanish interpretation will be available.

Monday, April 11, 5:30 – 6:30 pm

Click here to join the Zoom meeting

Meeting ID: 961 2785 5602
Password: 827894


Annual Report Pre-Workshop Tentatively Set for Tuesday, April 12

Recently, the SSMP team released its 2022 Annual Report and is inviting community members and all interested parties to a virtual community meeting, tentatively planned for Tuesday, April 12. The team will host an in-depth presentation of the 2022 Annual Report and welcome any questions that arise from this presentation. Additional details on this meeting are forthcoming. This meeting will be hosted in English with Spanish interpretation.

The SSMP Annual Report is available to review in both English and Spanish on California Natural Resources Agency’s (CNRA) website: https://saltonsea.ca.gov/.


State Water Resources Control Board Annual Workshop on Salton Sea

The State Water Resources Control Board anticipates holding its annual workshop on the status of the SSMP during the Board’s regularly scheduled meeting on April 19-20. The workshop is currently anticipated to occur in the afternoon and evening of April 20. The workshop is still in the planning stage, and it has not yet been determined if it will be held remotely or in person. Additional details will be provided in the public notice for the workshop, to be released in the coming weeks. The meeting agenda will be released at least 10 days prior to the event.

For more updates please visit: https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/waterrights/water_issues/programs/salton_sea/

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Continuation from the past Long Range Plan Committee meeting; Q&A session to discuss the Long-Range Plan Evaluation criteria and initial restoration concepts

The Salton Sea Management Program is hosting a special virtual meeting for the Long-Range Plan Committee to meet on a Q&A session to continue the conversation about the Long-Range Plan Evaluation Criteria and the initial suit of restoration concepts. Public is invited to participate at this meeting.

When: Thursday, March 17, from 1:00 pm – 3:00pm.

Please click the link below to join the webinar:

https://us06web.zoom.us/j/82696535852

Passcode: 787909

Phone: (866) 390 1828 US

Added: Long Range Plan Q&A Presentation with Preliminary Restoration Concepts March 2022

SSMP Annual Report Submitted to State Water Board

Salton Sea Management Program Update – February 25, 2022

Cover of SSMP annual reportThe California Natural Resources Agency has submitted its 2022 Annual Report on the Salton Sea Management Program (SSMP) to the State Water Resources Control Board, prepared in compliance with Order WR 2017-0134.

English and Spanish versions of the report can be found at https://saltonsea.ca.gov/ under the Quick Links heading.

The report summarizes progress in 2021 toward reducing exposed lakebed and creating habitat at the Salton Sea. Highlights include breaking ground on the largest restoration project in the Sea’s history, advancing with partners several other community-oriented restoration projects around the Sea, beginning vegetation enhancement on exposed lakebed to reduce dust emissions, and securing commitment from state leaders for an additional $220 million in funding. This was made possible through partnerships with many other entities and by growing the SSMP Team, including several critical new hires.

The report also details progress to advance programmatic permitting that will enable future work to happen more quickly. Outreach and engagement with local communities was strengthened so that local input can better shape the work of the SSMP. This included reinvigorating the Engagement Committee, re-establishing the Long-Range Planning Committee, and working to identify community amenities that local residents prioritize along with work to directly address the receding Sea. With an eye toward the future, the SSMP established an independent panel of experts to evaluate the feasibility of a range of proposals for water importation, which will inform the Long-Range Plan for the Salton Sea. This Long-Range Plan will be submitted to the State Water Board by the end of this year (2022).

The annual report and the status of the SSMP will be the focus of a public workshop convened by the State Water Board in April. Workshop details will be available soon on the State Water Board’s Salton Sea program webpage.

In addition, the SSMP team plans to hold a community meeting in advance of the State Water Board’s workshop to provide an overview of the report and answer questions. Details will be shared soon.

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Joint Salton Sea Partnership Statement on the Passing of Bruce Wilcox

Salton Sea Management Program Update – February 24, 2022

Agency LogosThe California Natural Resources Agency, Salton Sea Authority, Torres Martinez Tribe, Riverside County, Imperial County, Imperial Irrigation District, Coachella Valley Water District and San Diego County Water Authority were each deeply saddened to learn of the recent passing of Bruce Wilcox, California’s inaugural Assistant Secretary of Salton Sea Policy.

photo of Bruce WilcoxAlthough Bruce was originally from the Midwest, and a proud University of Wisconsin graduate, he had a deep dedication for the wildlife and people of the Salton Sea region, whom he served tirelessly in different professional capacities from 2007-2019 and never stopped caring about.

Bruce was appointed to serve as Assistant Secretary of Salton Sea Policy within the California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA) in 2015. It was a new post within CNRA, created in the wake of Gov. Brown’s formation of a Salton Sea Task Force to recommend stepped-up efforts at the Sea. Bruce’s efforts led to what is now the Salton Sea Management Program; the state’s approach to restoration at the sea. He developed the Agency’s 10-Year Plan to develop 30,000 acres of dust suppression and environmental habitat at the Sea and he brought the state closer to designing and implementing key habitat projects at the Sea. Prior to his appointment, Bruce was manager of the Imperial Irrigation District (IID) environmental mitigation program for the Quantification Settlement Agreement (QSA) conserved water transfer, and responsible for numerous other projects and efforts related to protecting wildlife and the ecosystem at the Salton Sea. He started his career working with large environmental and engineering consulting firms, eventually serving as a section leader.

As the state’s first “Salton Sea Czar” Bruce played a crucial role in coalescing efforts at the Sea into a path forward, bringing stakeholders around a shared goal at a difficult time. In all his work he brought a truly kind, genuine, and gentle spirit. He was hardworking, friendly, and open making himself available to all and was relentlessly optimistic—always seeing the best in everyone and open to new ideas. He is remembered fondly by colleagues from all walks of life at the Salton Sea. He loved travel, books, and antiques. He also appreciated the opportunities to see the world that environmental work brought him.

Bruce spent much of his career as an advocate for birds, ranging from his work around burrowing owls at the IID to the brown pelican at the Salton Sea. However, in his personal life he was a lover of cats–feeding all the stray cats at the IID offices until one day one just followed him home.

Donations can be made in his name to the Humane Society of the Desert or the Humane Society of Imperial County.

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The Salton Sea Management Program Reconvenes the Science Committee

Also: SSMP Long-Range Planning Committee to Meet March 2

Salton Sea Management Program Update – February 16, 2022

The Salton Sea Management Program (SSMP) is reconvening the SSMP Science Committee for a virtual kick-off meeting via Zoom on Thursday, February 17, at 1 pm. The committee will provide independent scientific review of various plans being developed for resource management at the Salton Sea. The committee is composed of scientists with specialized expertise in key resources (hydrology and water quality, geography, air quality, biological resources, and socioeconomics) related to the Salton Sea and/or experience with the application of scientific data to environmental management.

As part of its first task in 2022, the committee will be charged with scientific review of the Draft Monitoring Implementation Plan (MIP). The Draft MIP will guide measurement of important resources and provide a monitoring framework and priorities for environmental indicators at the Salton Sea. In 2021, the Draft MIP was developed through working groups with input from agencies and stakeholders with expertise and monitoring experience in hydrology, air quality, water quality, biology, and socioeconomics.

During the kick-off meeting the SSMP team will introduce the committee, provide background on the MIP purpose and development process, and solicit input and questions from the public.

SSMP Science Committee Meeting


https://youtu.be/D47Bf4sfHw4

Feb 17, 2022 01:00 PM Pacific Time

Please click the link below to join the webinar:

https://us06web.zoom.us/j/81822848934

Or join over telephone by dialing:

USA 216 706 7075 US Toll

USA 866 390 1828 US Toll-free

Conference code: 787909

Public meeting link and other materials will also be uploaded to the SSMP website at saltonsea.ca.gov


SSMP Long-Range Planning Committee to Meet March 2

The Long-Range Planning Committee is convening over Zoom on Wednesday, March 2, at 10 am.

The SSMP Team plans to cover the following topics:

  • Provide the status of the planning process
  • Solicit feedback from the committee members on preliminary restoration concepts
  • Solicit feedback on evaluation criteria to evaluate restoration concepts
  • Discuss community engagement and the schedule of future meetings

Community members are welcome to attend and share their comments during the public comment period.

SSMP Long-Range Committee Meeting

Weds Mar 2, 2022 10:00 AM Pacific Time

Please click the link below to join the webinar:

https://us06web.zoom.us/j/85229473167

Or join over telephone by dialing:

USA 216 706 7075 US Toll

USA 866 390 1828 US Toll-free

Conference code: 787909

Posted March 7th, 2022:

Vegetation Enhancement Projects Now Underway

Salton Sea Management Program Update – February 4, 2022

Also: Virtual Community Meeting Set for February 5 on North Lake Pilot Demonstration Project; Upcoming Community Engagement Committee Meeting; Air Quality Monitoring Network at North End of the Salton Sea

skyProjects aimed at establishing and enhancing native vegetation on exposed lakebed are underway at the Salton Sea. Work on this collaborative project with the US Bureau of Reclamation started on December 29. The purpose of this 1,700-acre project is to restore exposed lakebed sites through establishment of native vegetation and enhancement of existing vegetation communities.

The work is planned at three project sites. Two sites are located near the community of Salton City: Clubhouse (approximately 400 acres) and Tule Wash (approximately 1,215 acres). The third site is located near the community of Bombay Beach (approximately 90 acres). A stable vegetation community is expected to enhance habitat value at these sites and reduce wind-blown dust emissions.

greensThree vegetation establishment methods will be used, including natural recruitment, seeding, and planting. Vegetation in the form of seeding or planting (potted plants or plugs grown in a nursery) will be combined with physical modification(such as storm-water spreading features) and wind protection such as straw bales and water to help protect and facilitate plant growth and improve plant survival rates. Initial water supplies will be obtained through the spreading of storm-water in local creeks, and through trucked-in water for early germination at selected sites. In addition, groundwater is expected to be a supplemental water supply for irrigation in 2022 and beyond. The initial phase of work was started at the Clubhouse site in late 2021, including placement of straw bales to create conditions for plant growth by reducing wind speeds and dust emissions from across the lakebed.

The SSMP team began harvesting local seeds from around the Salton Sea in early 2021. Working with botanists, plants have been grown and tested to tolerate the salinity that is present in the region. This work is ongoing relative to the plant species and the ideal time to harvest the seeds. Planting of native plants grown in a nursery and seeds collected in 2021 will start in March following the initial phase of work.

With the initiation of the vegetation enhancement projects and the 4,100-acre Species Conservation Habitat (SCH) Project moving forward full steam, nearly 6,000 acres of restoration work is now underway at the Salton Sea with several other projects advancing in 2022, including the North Lake Demonstration Pilot Project, Desert Shores Channel Restoration Project, and others.


Virtual Community Meeting Set for February 5 on North Lake Pilot Demonstration Project

As part of a joint project of the Salton Sea Authority, Riverside County, and the SSMP, Riverside County and Salton Sea Authority invites the community to the first in a series of outreach meetings for the North Lake Pilot Demonstration Project set for Saturday, February 5.

The meeting will be an opportunity for community members to learn more about the North Lake Pilot Demonstration Project, ask questions, and provide comments on the project.

The meeting will be held virtually over Zoom on Saturday, February 5, 2022, at 1 p.m.
Spanish interpretation will be provided.

Join this community meeting by clicking this Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86294358371?pwd=T1U1NTc0Vk43WksybW1Eb0UrNjZmQT09
The meeting ID is 862 9435 8371 and passcode is 20220205

The Spanish stream will be accessible through this Zoom link:
(Para acceder a la transmisión en vivo en español, haga click en este enlace) https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81602965146?pwd=dFJQdCtWQ1hiWml4OEpFYkF2WTEzUT09
The meeting ID for the Spanish stream is 816 0296 5146, with passcode: 20220205

Context
As part of the state’s SSMP 10-year Plan, the vision of the North Lake Pilot Demonstration Project is to build an approximately 160-acre lake near the North Shore Beach & Yacht Club Community Center. The project would: restore and manage habitat for fish, birds, and wildlife; control dust, and revitalize the northern end of the Salton Sea, as well as the community of North Shore. This project could be integrated into a larger North Lake concept, envisioned as a ~4,030-acre horseshoe-shaped lake.

Late last year, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors and the Salton Sea Authority board of directors approved reimbursement agreements that allow Riverside County to utilize $19.25 million in state funding, from the voter-approved Proposition 68 parks bond, to manage this project. In managing this project, Riverside County will serve as a subcontractor to the Salton Sea Authority in consultation with the SSMP Team. The agreement applies Riverside County’s experience and expertise in capital project delivery.

For more information and questions regarding this community meeting or support accessing the meeting, please contact Douglas Ordonez, dordonez@rivco.org


Upcoming Community Engagement Committee Meeting

The SSMP Community Engagement Committee will meet on February 9 at 2 p.m. for an online meeting on Zoom.

When: February 9, 2022 2:00 PM Pacific Time
Topic: SSMP Community Engagement Committee Meeting

Please click the link below to join the webinar:
https://us06web.zoom.us/j/84373649191
Or join by telephone:
Dial:
USA 216 706 7075 US toll
USA 866 390 1828 US toll-free
Conference code: 787909

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

Meeting materials will be uploaded to the SSMP website at saltonsea.ca.gov


Air Quality Monitoring Network at North End of the Salton Sea

monitorBased on public feedback received through the Dust Suppression Action Plan, the SSMP Team is establishing an air quality network that will assess the amount of dust emissions occurring at the north end of the Salton Sea. The team installed two of five proposed monitors at the end of last year and is on target to complete installation of two more monitors this month.

This network is being established in collaboration with the California Air Resources Board, South Coast Air Quality Management District, Coachella Valley Water District, and the Imperial Irrigation District.

The air quality monitoring stations are designed to continuously monitor and collect data for:
• PM10 concentration (dust)
• Saltation flux (sand blasting)
• Wind speed and wind direction
• General meteorological parameters

The data acquired through this network will be reviewed on a quarterly basis. It will be used to create a year-end report to inform future management actions and projects at the Sea.

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Vegetation Enhancement Projects Moving Ahead in Partnership with U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

Salton Sea vegetation enhancement projects.The Salton Sea Management Program and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) are partnering to establish about 1,700 acres of native vegetation enhancement projects around the Salton Sea on land owned by the Reclamation. The Vegetation Enhancement Projects aim to establish and enhance native vegetation on the exposed lakebed to create habitat benefits and provide suppression of wind-blown dust.

The projects are planned at three different locations. Two sites are located near the community of Salton City: Clubhouse (approximately 400 acres) and Tule Wash (approximately 1,215 acres). The third site is located near the community of Bombay Beach (approximately 90 acres).

The specific objective of the projects is to enable the creation of an Iodine Bush vegetation community across the three sites. This vegetation community is dominated by Iodine Bush with other associated species, and is widely observed across the arid Southwestern U.S., especially in the vicinity of saline lakes.  The vegetation is also widely observed around the perimeter of the Salton Sea.

The project will enhance the growth of existing vegetation stands and promote new growth in open areas.  The treatment of existing vegetation stands will consist of weed removal and the addition of compost to promote growth. Open areas of the lakebed will be supplied with water, plants, seeds, and physical modifications to promote growth of native vegetation.

Three vegetation establishment methods are proposed, including natural recruitment, seeding, and planting. Vegetation in the form of seeding or planting (potted plants or plugs grown in a nursery) will be combined with wind protection such as straw bales and water to help protect and facilitate plant growth and improve plant survival rates. The mix of plant species to be considered for the project include Iodine Bush (Allenrolfea occidentalis), Big Saltbush (Atriplex lentiformis), Salton Saltbush (Atriplex canescens var. macllenta), Bush Seepweed (Sueda nigra), Western Sea-purslane (Sesuvium verrucosum), Cattle Saltbush (Atriplex polycarpa), and other opportunistic species.

The work is envisioned to begin this year and continue into 2023. Once established, these vegetated landscapes are expected to be sustained by natural water flows and precipitation resident to the area.

Salton Sea Region Receives $57 Million in State Funding for New and Revitalized Parks

Secretary Wade Crowfoot meets with community members near the site of the new park in Thermal on December 9.Communities in the Salton Sea region are receiving $57 million in grant funding for new and revitalized parks as part of the state’s largest-ever single investment in improving access to parks and open spaces.

Awarded through the Statewide Park Development and Community Revitalization Grant Program, the grants will deliver six new parks in Imperial and Riverside Counties and revitalize two existing ones.

The competitive grant program is part of the Governor Newsom Administration’s “California Outdoors for All” initiative to expand equitable access to the outdoors in underserved communities across California.

New parks will be created in Calipatria, Heber, Cathedral City, Coachella, Indio, Thermal and Banning. Improvements will be made at Gomez Park in the City of El Centro. Renovations to Patterson Park in the City of Riverside are also funded.Secretary Wade Crowfoot at Thermal Park.

“These funding awards are a huge deal for Californians. Creating new parks across the state – including in many communities currently without adequate outdoor public space – will make a real, lasting difference in the lives of young people and all residents,” said California Secretary for Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot. “It’s one more way the Governor and Legislature are working to improve the lives of all Californians.”

The Outdoors for All initiative is focused on equitably expanding outdoor access to all Californians through focused investments in open space infrastructure, outdoor programming, and improvements to state systems.

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.

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