Salton Sea Management Program 2020 Annual Report Now Available
Salton Sea Management Program Update – February 24, 2020
Also: Draft Dust Suppression Action Plan Available for Review; Projects to Reduce Dust on up to 3,800 Acres of Emissive Lakebed This Year; State Requests Proposals for Water Importation Independent Review Panel; Salton Sea Authority Approves MOU with Natural Resources Agency
The California Natural Resources Agency has posted its 2020 Annual Report on the Salton Sea Management Program (SSMP). The report provides a summary of recent and planned activities by the SSMP to address air quality and ecological threats at the Sea.
The report notes that since the Natural Resources Agency’s last report to the State Water Resources Control Board in March 2019, the state team has significantly improved its capacity to deliver projects at the Sea.
It has developed a detailed time line for project implementation, with up to 3,800 acres of projects expected to be completed in 2020 on some of the most emissive lakebed around the Sea.
The report also summarizes planning activities, partnerships and community engagement efforts.
The State Water Board is expected to hold a public workshop on the status of the SSMP on March 18 in Imperial County.
Draft Dust Suppression Action Plan Available for Review; Projects to Reduce Dust on up to 3,800 Acres of Emissive Lakebed This Year
The Salton Sea Management Program has released a draft Dust Suppression Action Plan that identifies and prioritizes approximately 8,200 acres of dust suppression projects on emissive lakebed locations around the Salton Sea.
The plan proposes to implement dust suppression projects in two phases. Phase A includes up to 3,800 acres of surface roughening projects for completion in 2020. The projects will help control dust from some of the most emissive lakebed sites and limit Sea-related impacts on air quality for communities such as Salton City, Bombay Beach and North Shore.
Phase B includes establishing vegetation on portions of Phase A project sites, where possible, and implementing approximately 4,400 acres of additional projects in areas that require further data collection, design and planning and have more extensive environmental permitting requirements. Phase B projects will be implemented as early as possible and a concerted effort will be made to complete identified projects by the end of 2022.
In addition to public meetings held in December 2019 to inform development of the Dust Suppression Action Plan, additional meetings are planned in late February and early March 2020 as noted below to gather additional community input prior to finalizing the plan.
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.
Dust Suppression Action Plan Public Meetings
Tuesday, February 25
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
City of Westmorland Youth Hall
218 West 2nd Street
Westmorland, CA 92281
Wednesday, February 26
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Bombay Beach Community Center
9590 Avenue C
Niland, CA 92257
Wednesday, March 4
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians Tameka Gym
66725 Martinez Road
Thermal, CA 92274
State Requests Proposals for Water Importation Independent Review Panel
The Department of Water Resources is seeking qualified applicants to examine the feasibility of replenishing the Salton Sea through water importation. The notion of a water importation plan has existed for decades as a potential solution for long-term restoration of the Salton Sea as the lake continues to recede. The state has begun taking active steps to examine the viability of importation.
In late 2017, the state released a call for innovative solutions to address the challenges associated with declining lake levels. Among those proposals received, 12 described various methods to import water to the Sea. On February 14, 2020, the state opened its Request for Proposals process, a step toward enlisting an independent review panel to evaluate the water importation proposals, and to explore other avenues of water importation. The independent panel of experts will review the importation proposals and consider technical feasibility, cost, environmental rules and permitting requirements, international agreements and other factors to evaluate whether the method of water importation has merit. Entities interested in becoming a third-party evaluator have until March 16 to submit their application to the state.
The findings from the independent review panel will be compiled into reports and presented to the state. The state could then determine whether a water importation plan is technically and economically feasible. At that time, the state would consider its next steps. This process was identified in the draft Water Resilience Portfolio released January 3 by the California Natural Resources Agency, California Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Food and Agriculture.
Salton Sea Authority Approves MOU with Natural Resources Agency
The Salton Sea Authority (SSA) Board of Directors has approved a memorandum of understanding between SSA and CNRA regarding Proposition 68 funding for the implementation of SSMP plans and projects at the Salton Sea.
The MOU outlines CNRA’s participation in SSA board meetings and describes other activities for coordination and collaboration regarding planning and implementation of SSMP projects. It is available on the SSA’s website.