Community Meetings Held on Dust Suppression Planning around Salton Sea
Salton Sea Management Program Update — December 23, 2019
Also: State Applies for Federal Funds to Assist with Species Conservation Habitat Project
State agencies sponsored two community meetings last week to engage residents in planning dust suppression projects around the Salton Sea.
The meetings, held in Mecca on December 17 and Salton City on December 18, featured updates on the Salton Sea Management Program, air quality data and the state’s efforts to develop a Dust Suppression Action Plan. Meeting materials, including the agenda and presentations, are available on the California Natural Resources Agency’s Salton Sea webpage here.
About 80 community members attended the Mecca meeting, and approximately 70 attended the Salton City meeting. The state team plans to hold additional meetings in the southern and eastern areas of the Salton Sea in early 2020.
As part of the Salton Sea Management Program, the state intends to construct projects on nearly 15,000 acres of emissive playa around the receding sea. Initial planning areas have been identified based on air quality information from the California Air Resources Board and Imperial Irrigation District. Community input will be used to help refine plans for future projects.
State Applies for Federal Funds to Assist with Species Conservation Habitat Project
The Department of Water Resources (DWR) has requested $7 million in financial assistance from the federal Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
The program helps fund projects that demonstrate innovative solutions to natural resource challenges. Under the 2018 Farm Bill, the RCPP is now a stand-alone program with its own funding totaling $300 million annually. The NRCS is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
DWR’s proposal seeks to expand cooperation with the federal government through development of a partnership agreement for the Species Conservation Habitat Project (SCH), which is the first major project the state is implementing under the Salton Sea Management Program 10-Year Plan.
The SCH project area encompasses 3,770 acres of exposed lakebed at the southern end of the sea, and spans part of the New River. It is located about eight miles northeast of the town of Westmorland in Imperial County.
The project is aimed at creating habitat and preventing further degradation of air quality. It will anchor phase one of the SSMP, which focuses on constructing wetlands and other projects to reduce exposed lakebed and health hazards posed by airborne dust from exposed playa.
The state expects to award a design-build contract in late summer 2020. Project construction will begin as soon as possible after the contract is awarded. The state has committed up to $210 million for the project, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.
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