SSMP e-Newsletter – January 2024

Upcoming SSMP Engagement Opportunities

Help us shape the future. Send Us Your Comments on the SSMP
and Community Needs Report

The California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA) has released a draft of the Salton Sea Management Program and Community Needs Report for a 60-day public comment period.

Acknowledging the concerns raised by community members and advocates over the past decades about the actions and inactions in the Salton Sea region, CNRA recognized the need to better understand community needs and identify better pathways to achieve co-benefits while achieving the SSMP’s goals and commitments to implement nearly 30,000 acres of dust suppression and habitat restoration projects. The Salton Sea Management Program and Community Needs Report identifies community needs related to the Salton Sea, describes the status of SSMP efforts, and lists potential opportunities for the SSMP to address community needs while implementing restoration projects.

Accompanying the release of the SSMP report is a public draft of the Salton Sea Community Needs and Recommended Actions Report by Better World Group Advisors. This document reflects the broader feedback of community members and tribes in public comment letters, interviews, and work group sessions as a part of CNRA and Better World Group’s public engagement project. This report identifies community needs and recommends actions that can be taken by federal, state, and local government agencies, business organizations, philanthropy, community-based groups, and nonprofit organizations.    

The SSMP is looking forward to your review and feedback by March 26, 2024. Please send us your written comments via email to or via regular mail to:

Attn: Salton Sea Community Needs Report
California Natural Resources Agency
715 P Street, 20th Floor
Sacramento, CA, 9581475.

Finally, the SSMP team will be hosting three community meetings to share more about these documents and provide additional opportunities to gather live feedback and recommendations from those present. More information about these community meetings will be shared in the coming weeks.

CNRA is grateful to the community members, California Native American tribes, and regional partners who participated in this effort to identify community needs and detail what efforts and projects to consider as part of the SSMP.

SSMP Community Engagement Committee to Meet on February 9

The SSMP Community Engagement Committee will meet on February 9 at 1:00 p.m. for a virtual meeting on Zoom. Spanish Interpretation will be available. Habrá interpretación en español.

SSMP Community Engagement Committee Meeting
Click here to join the meeting:
Or dial: +1 669 444 9171
Webinar ID: 878 9889 8525


SSMP Welcomes New Team Members

To continue delivering critical projects around the Salton Sea, the Salton Sea Management Program (SSMP) has filled three key vacancies at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) Salton Sea Program.

In December 2023, Barbara Barry joined the SSMP team as CDFW’s Senior Environmental Scientist Supervisor for the newly formed Integrated Science Team. Barbara started her career as a CDFW Scientific Aid for the Bermuda Dunes office in 2006. She has a B.S. in General Biology from UC San Diego and a M.S. in Soil and Water Science from UC Riverside. She conducted her graduate research on the biogeochemistry and ecology of saline shallow ponds at the south end of the Salton Sea. She then worked as a Junior Specialist at UC Riverside modeling the water quality of shallow saline ponds using different pond designs and management strategies for the Species Conservation Habitat.

Barbara is very excited to return to the Salton Sea and to CDFW as the supervisor of the Integrated Science Team, based out of the CDFW Bermuda Dunes field office.

Diego Villalobos is the new GIS Research Data Specialist I for the Salton Sea Program. Diego’s educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry from the University of La Verne. He also obtained a master’s degree in geographic information from the University of Redlands. 

Diego’s work experience ranges from working as a laboratory technician for the University of La Verne, a biological science technician for the USDA Forest Service, and an agriculture technician for the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). In addition, he worked as the GIS specialist within CDFA’s emergency preparedness and response group, which primarily dealt with foreign animal disease outbreaks and natural disasters.

He is excited to join CDFW and the SSMP team because it feels like a natural fit for his life and career.

Earlier this month, Atalie Gomez joined the SSMP team as CDFW’s Water Resource Control Engineer. She graduated from San Diego State University with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and then she obtained a master’s degree in civil engineering with a concentration in environmental engineering.

Atalie was born and raised in the Imperial Valley, and she previously worked in a private company in San Diego before deciding she missed the desert heat and wanted to move back home.

Atalie is excited to work at the Salton Sea and join the SSMP team, headquartered in the Bermuda Dunes field office.