About the Salton Sea

Thirty-five miles long and 15 miles wide, the Salton Sea extends from the Coachella Valley into the Imperial Valley. Though saltier than the ocean, the Sea supports an abundance of fish that provide an important food source for millions of migratory birds on the Pacific Flyway.

The modern-day Salton Sea was created when the entire Colorado River flowed unchecked into the Salton Sink for two years beginning in 1905.

Flows into the Salton Sea have declined in recent years, and the result is a shrinking, increasingly saline lake. As the Sea recedes, previously submerged lakebed is being exposed, creating dust that can be hazardous as it dries and becomes airborne.

Declining lake levels and resulting exposure of lakebed negatively impact surrounding communities and reduce remaining habitat for fish and wildlife.

To address these challenge, the California Natural Resources Agency, the California Department of Water Resources and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife are implementing a 10-year plan to improve conditions by constructing 30,000 acres of habitat and dust suppression projects around the Salton Sea.

Background on Recent State Efforts

In May 2015, the state created the Salton Sea Task Force and directed state agencies to develop a comprehensive management plan for the Salton Sea with specific goals to create projects in the short and medium term. These goals were memorialized in in 2016 through a 10-year Memorandum of Understanding between the United States Department of Interior and the Natural Resources Agency and are being implemented through the Salton Sea Management Program pursuant to the Phase I 10-year plan released in March 2017.