SSMP Project Spotlight – November 2022

Bringing you timely and concise updates on the Salton Sea Management Program

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New River Diversion Structure Under Construction as Part of the Species Conservation Habitat Project

The New River diversion structure (star icon) is a major component of the Species Conservation Habitat Project. Completion of this feature signifies a major milestone for the project.

The Species Conservation Habitat (SCH) Project, spanning the New River at the southern end of the Salton Sea, will create a network of ponds and wetlands to provide important fish and bird habitat while suppressing dust emissions to improve regional air quality as the Salton Sea continues to recede. On schedule for completion in 2023, the 4,100-acre SCH is the first of many projects the Salton Sea Management Program (SSMP) team will implement as part of the SSMP Phase 1: 10-Year Plan.

The New River diversion structure is a major component of the overall SCH Project. It will allow water diversion into the habitat ponds. The East and West Sluiceways will allow the water coming from the New River to flow north into the Salton Sea. The Labyrinth weir will allow the New River water to rise and a portion of it will flow by gravity to the New River West and East Intake Structures. The mixing occurs between the weir and the sedimentation basins at the mixing basins. Saline water from the Salton Sea is pumped in from the Saline Pump Station located at the north end of the Causeway into the mixing basins. The mixed water (from the New River and from the Salton Sea) will then flow by gravity to the sedimentation basins and then to the habitat ponds. The New River diversion structure is also a flood control structure that will allow for water to go through without compromising the integrity of the project.

During the first phase of construction of the diversion structure, material placement and removal was completed for ground improvement. Then followed by excavation and embankment, installation of sheet piles, and the concrete and rebar installation for the weir structure. The New River Diversion Structure is anticipated to be completed by the end of 2022.

Construction of the SCH Project is expected to continue through the end of 2023.


A few weeks ago, SSMP partners from Audubon California published a blog post that narrates their recent experience at the SCH Project site. “We were pleasantly surprised to find ourselves counting thousands upon thousands of Black-necked Stilts, Long-billed Curlews, Least and Western Sandpipers…”

Click here to read Audubon’s blog post:


SSMP Team Employee Spotlight

The California Natural Resources Agency, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR), and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife are implementing the Salton Sea Management Program to address air quality and ecological threats at the Salton Sea. These agencies are collectively known as the SSMP team.

In this edition, we are putting Miguel Hernández in the spotlight to share more about his important work, as part of the SSMP Team.

Hernández is the Public Affairs Officer at the California Natural Resources Agency for the for the Salton Sea Management Program. He has been serving in this role since September of 2021.

  • Hi Miguel, can you tell us a bit more about your role at the SSMP?

Hola, my role is to provide effective public communications for the SSMP program. Leading the Outreach and Communications office to communicate activities, priorities, and progress happening for the SSMP, including its restoration projects. As part of the SSMP leadership, continue prioritizing community involvement so local input can better shape the work of the SSMP. Part of my role is to support the work of the SSMP Community Engagement Committee, in collaboration with the Committee co-chairs to achieve meaningful community engagement and utilize effective outreach strategies to connect with communities. I’ve had the fortune of been a part of the Community Engagement Committee years before joining the SSMP team.

  • What part of your job do you enjoy the most?

I enjoy engaging with SSMP partners, community-based organization, non-governmental organizations, community members. My job requires that I work in close collaboration with others to advance environmental justice priorities, bringing people together to achieve collective goals and identify effective ways to meet our objectives.

  • What inspired you to seek a career in communications and public outreach?

I was always part of school extracurricular activities that required significant public interaction. I also served in church programs that allowed me to learn from my community. I believe this is the baseline for my interest in communicating and interacting with folks around me.

Years after graduating, I found an opportunity to work with a grassroots organization in Imperial County. My work here required me to coordinate communications and media relations for the organization, including conducting community outreach for multiple programs. I led the Salton Sea Community Outreach, Education, and Engagement program intending to inform the hard-to-reach communities of the Salton Sea region. This opportunity allowed me to have close conversations with community members, learning that there is a ton of information that is not reaching these communities and that the Salton Sea is another item in a list of the multiple concerns in the area. I joined the State SSMP team inspired to communicate accurately and transparently with the people of my community.

  • What is your vision for the future of the Salton Sea?

I’m confident that if we continue to work in collaboration, not only the SSMP will achieve its commitments, but we will be able to achieve those collective goals that better serve the communities of the Salton Sea region. There are still significant challenges ahead of us, perhaps uncertainties too, but my vision for the Salton Sea is one with a positive outcome that prioritizes community concerns and preserves habitat value for the Sea.

  • Thanks Miguel!

The State is Recruiting Two Candidates to Join the SSMP Team

The Department of Water Resources is seeking applicants for a Budget Analyst to work with the SSMP.

The Budget Analyst works independently performing a wide variety of challenging and complex analytical and administrative tasks, as well as working closely with program managers on budget planning and tracking and grant contract development and invoicing for the Salton Sea Program.

The final filing date is November 18. The job announcement may be found at

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is seeking applicants for Senior Environmental Scientist with the SSMP.

Under the general supervision, the Senior Environmental Scientist serves as scientific and regulatory lead for the CDFW Salton Sea Program and independently identifies problems, develops courses of action, conducts critical scientific investigations, prepares guidance, policy, planning, and regulatory documents, and legislative proposals and analysis. The incumbent requires a broad understanding of natural resources, conservation, and environmental laws, including aquatic ecology, fisheries, and water quality, and habitat structure affecting fish and bird health and abundance. This position is seeking applicants from any of the following counties: Riverside, Imperial, San Bernardino, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Joaquin, or Orange County.

The final filing date is November 15. The job announcement may be found at:

Job opportunities to join the SSMP team are updated regularly. Click here to view available jobs.

Upcoming SSMP Engagement Opportunities and Salton Sea Events

UPDATE: SSMP Science Committee Meeting Set for December 1

The SSMP Science Committee will meet on December 1 for a virtual meeting on Zoom. The Committee will present a public update on the Monitoring Implementation Plan and provide informational background on the Monitoring and Adaptive Management Plan (MAMP) for the SSMP’s SCH Project.

SSMP Science Committee Meeting

When: Dec 1, 2022, 1:00 p.m.

Please click this link to join the webinar:

Or Dial: +1 (646) 931 3860

Webinar ID: 854 0450 3973

This meeting will be recorded and uploaded to the SSMP website. Spanish Interpretation will be available. Habrá interpretación en español.

The Science Committee provides 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.

SSMP Update Community Meeting set for December 7

The SSMP team will provide an informational program update on a hybrid meeting on December 7 at 5:30 p.m. Attendees may participate in person at Calipatria High School Library located at 601 W Main St, Calipatria, CA 92233, or join virtually using the following link:

SSMP Update Community Meeting

When: Dec 7, 2022, 05:30 p.m. -7:30 p.m.

In person location: Calipatria High School Library, 601 W Main St, Calipatria, CA 92233

Please click this link to join the webinar:

Or Dial: +1 360 209 5623

Webinar ID: 819 6733 5579

This meeting will be recorded and uploaded to the SSMP website. Spanish Interpretation will be available. Habrá interpretación en español.

Meeting materials and other documents will be uploaded to the SSMP website. For questions or comments, please contact:

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@CalNatResources Join us for the next Secretary Speaker Series: Strengthening Tribal Partnerships in Our Nature-Based Solutions Work. Secretary @WadeCrowfoot and panelists will discuss recent tribal-state collaborations and projections for future initiatives.

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Sacramento, CA 95814