SSMP Seeks Information Officer

Salton Sea Management Program Update – June 4, 2021

To strengthen communication with the public about state activities around the Salton Sea, the SSMP seeks to add a communications expert to the team.

The position will conduct a comprehensive communication and public outreach program to help tell the story of SSMP activities, objectives, and priorities. The position can be located in Riverside or Imperial County.

Apply for the Information Officer position by June 11.

Application Deadline Extended for Key Leadership Position

The recruitment period for the deputy assistant secretary, a key SSMP leadership position has been extended to June 14. The deputy assistant secretary will provide essential leadership and coordination of SSMP activities on a variety of policy and science-related issues.

Find details about the positions on the SSMP website.

###

To sign up to receive Salton Sea Community Updatesplease click here.

Roundtable Discussion on Salton Sea Set for May 25

Salton Sea Management Program Update – May 24, 2021

Join a roundtable discussion Tuesday, May 25, from 1 to 2 p.m., about the Salton Sea’s future, community engagement, and new funding opportunities. The roundtable is organized by Audubon California, Pacific Institute, Comite Civico del Valle and others.

California Natural Resources Agency Secretary Wade Crowfoot will be part of the roundtable. It will be moderated by the Los Angeles Time’s Sammy Roth. Other panel members featured are Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, State Water Resources Control Board Chair Joaquin Esquivel, and North Shore youth advocate Adriana Torres.

The event will be streamed on Facebook in English at https://www.facebook.com/audubonca.

The event will be streamed on Facebook and YouTube in Spanish at https://fb.me/e/1zi7AZvh5 and also at https://www.youtube.com/user/audubonca.

Recruiting for SSMP Leadership Positions

The SSMP team is recruiting for key positions to help advance the state’s commitment to deliver projects at the Salton Sea.

The California Natural Resources Agency is recruiting for a deputy assistant secretary to provide essential leadership and coordination of SSMP activities on a variety of policy and science-related issues. The position will be located near the Sea in Imperial or Riverside County. The deadline for applications is June 4 and details can be found at the following postings:

https://www.calcareers.ca.gov/CalHrPublic/Jobs/JobPosting.aspx?JobControlId=251847

https://www.calcareers.ca.gov/CalHrPublic/Jobs/JobPosting.aspx?JobControlId=252453

https://www.calcareers.ca.gov/CalHrPublic/Jobs/JobPosting.aspx?JobControlId=252474

https://www.calcareers.ca.gov/CalHrPublic/Jobs/JobPosting.aspx?JobControlId=252231

In addition, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is recruiting for its Salton Sea program manager. The deadline for applications is June 4.

The career executive assignment (CEA A) is responsible for performing high-level coordination, implementation oversight, and ensuring the Salton Sea Management Program (SSMP) and habitat conservation in and around the Salton Sea meet state policy objectives. The position will act as the CDFW’s lead for the Salton Sea planning effort and will manage budget and personnel resources for the Salton Sea program.

https://www.calcareers.ca.gov/CalHrPublic/Jobs/JobPosting.aspx?JobControlId=249444

###

To sign up to receive Salton Sea Community Updates, please click here.

California Comeback Plan Includes $220 Million for Salton Sea

Salton Sea Management Program Update – May 14, 2021

As part of the biggest economic recovery package in California history, Governor Gavin Newsom’s $100 billion California Comeback Plan proposes $220 million for the Salton Sea to fund projects to improve conditions and provide immediate economic relief to communities in the region.

The funding will bolster the state’s effort to implement the Salton Sea Management Program’s Phase 1: 10-Year Plan, which calls for construction of nearly 30,000 acres of habitat and dust suppression projects on exposed lakebed by 2028. Construction is now underway on a major 4,100-acre habitat project at the southern end of the Sea, and about 750 acres of interim dust suppression projects were completed last year.

The infusion of new funds could enable an additional 4,000 acres of deep-water habitat, 1,000 acres of shallow water habitat, and 3,000 acres of dust suppression projects.

“Governor Newsom’s proposal to significantly expand funding to implement the Salton Sea Management Plan reflects our continued commitment to stabilize and restore the sea,” California Secretary for Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot said. “This work has to happen in partnership with local communities and leaders, and I’m encouraged with our collaboration on several fronts. While we’ve started to make important progress together, we have a lot of work ahead of us and this proposed funding is critical to deliver needed improvements.”

This new funding proposed by the governor is part of his broader climate change response as California roars back in 2021 and beyond.

###

To sign up to receive Salton Sea Community Updatesplease click here.

Recruitment Extended for Assistant Deputy Director Post

Posted April 30, 2021

The recruitment period has been extended to May 10 for applicants interested in the Assistant Deputy Director position for the Salton Sea Restoration Program.

The Assistant Deputy Director will lead the Department of Water Resource’s Salton Sea team, deliver wetland and dust suppression projects in coordination with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the California Natural Resources Agency, coordinate across local, state, and federal agencies to support the state’s legal commitments to Salton Sea restoration.

Please access the job posting to view the announcement and duty statement. If you have any questions, please contact Myra Galvez at (916) 653-8735.

Funding Agreement Paves Way for North Lake Demonstration Project to Advance

Salton Sea Management Program Update – April 29, 2021

Also: SSMP Full Annual Report Now in Spanish

The California Department of Water Resources and the Salton Sea Authority have signed a $19.25 million grant funding agreement for the North Lake Demonstration Project, a 160-acre lake to restore habitat, control dust and offer other community benefits.

Riverside County will lead the design and construction effort. With the funding agreement now in place, the county and the Salton Sea Authority will begin extensive community outreach and engagement to better inform the community of the broad project scope, and to further refine the project.

“This project, combined with other restoration efforts already underway, begins a new era of revitalization of the Sea and region,” said G. Patrick O’Dowd, executive director and general manager of the Salton Sea Authority. “Complementing the State’s important work on the Species Conservation Habitat Project which broke ground earlier this year, this demonstration project will inform many future investments at and around the Sea and in the end will provide the local community and region with improved air quality and recreational opportunities lost to the historic decline at the Sea.”

Supervisor V. Manuel Perez, representing all of western Riverside County including the Salton Sea region in the Coachella Valley, stated, “My sincerest thank you to the California Natural Resources Agency staff, the Salton Sea Authority team, and our Riverside county team for the tremendous effort it took to get this agreement across the finish line. This agreement is the beginning of a new life for the Sea. The residents at North Shore and the entire region will see increased protection from shoreline emissions and enjoy an economic and recreational revival.”

Located near the community of North Shore, the demonstration project when completed may be integrated into a larger North Lake concept, envisioned as an approximate 4,030-acre horseshoe-shaped lake at the north end of the Sea to control dust and create habitat for fish and birds.

The 2020-2021 California State budget allocated $19.25 million in Proposition 68 funding to implement the project. It is expected to inform future phases of deep and shallow water habitat development around the Salton Sea. Project construction is expected to start in 2022.

SSMP Full Annual Report Now in Spanish

The full 2021 Annual Report on the Salton Sea Management Program is now available in Spanish. Also available is the executive summary, the Informe anual 2021 resumen ejecutivo. Both are available on the annual report and Informacion en Espanol pages of the SSMP website.

In addition, find other recent updates including the presentation for the annual report to the State Water Resources Control Board and updated project description for the Phase 1: 10-Year Plan.

###

To sign up to receive Salton Sea Community Updatesplease click here.

UC Santa Cruz to Conduct Independent Feasibility Assessment of Water Importation Strategies for the Salton Sea

Salton Sea Management Program Update – April 6, 2021

Also: Now in Spanish, the Executive Summary of the SSMP Annual Report; SSMP Seeks Applicants for an Assistant Deputy Director

The Salton Sea Management Program is finalizing a contract with the University of California, Santa Cruz to perform an independent feasibility assessment of water importation strategies for the Salton Sea.

Photo of sign for UCSCUC Santa Cruz will convene an independent expert panel to review 11 water importation concepts submitted to the state in 2018, assess their technical and economic feasibility, and evaluate the overall viability of water importation as a long-term strategy for restoration of the Salton Sea. The panel will be supported by an analytical team led by Dr. Brent Haddad, professor of environmental studies at UC Santa Cruz.

The work is expected to get underway by June 1 of this year and conclude by the summer of 2022.

“UC Santa Cruz has significant experience facilitating independent technical panels, and we are excited with the multidisciplinary approach they will take on this project,” said Arturo Delgado, Assistant Secretary for Salton Sea Policy at the California Natural Resources Agency. “We look forward to getting them officially on board so this work can get underway.”

One of the first tasks for UC Santa Cruz will be to develop a detailed work plan for performing the feasibility assessment. Further details will be available in coming weeks.

The feasibility analysis of water importation concepts will be a key input for the long-range plan the SSMP is required to develop and submit to the State Water Resources Control Board. Public engagement to launch development of the long-range plan will begin—concurrently with the independent review of water importation proposals—in the coming months.

The long-range plan, which is due by the end of 2022, will establish a strategy for long-term restoration of the Salton Sea beyond the SSMP’s Phase I: 10-Year Plan currently being implemented. Options evaluated to inform the long-range plan will include project build-out based on projected future water inflows within the Salton Sea watershed, as well as water importation for a whole-Sea alternative if importation is found to be feasible

Now in Spanish, the Executive Summary of the SSMP Annual Report

Image of sidebar linkThe executive summary of the 2021 Annual Report on the Salton Sea Management Program is now available in Spanish. Find the Informe anual 2021 resumen ejecutivo on the SSMP home page along with other updates and recent documents. A Spanish translation of the full report is expected soon.

SSMP Seeks Applicants for an Assistant Deputy Director

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) is seeking an Assistant Deputy Director for the Salton Sea Restoration Program.

The Assistant Deputy Director will develop and lead the DWR’s Salton Sea team, deliver wetland and dust suppression projects in coordination with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the California Natural Resources Agency, coordinate across local, state, and federal agencies to support the state’s legal commitments to Salton Sea restoration.

Find information and instructions for applying at the CalCareer website: https://www.calcareers.ca.gov/CalHrPublic/Jobs/JobPosting.aspx?JobControlId=245144

If you have questions, please contact Myra Galvez of DWR at (916) 653-8735.

###

To sign up to receive Salton Sea Community Updates, please click here.

State Water Board Workshop on SSMP Rescheduled to April 7

March 12, 2021

The State Water Resources Control Board has rescheduled its public workshop on the Salton Sea Management Program (SSMP) to April 7. Please see the notice here. The workshop, originally set for March 17, was rescheduled to provide stakeholders additional time to review and provide comments on the California Natural Resources Agency’s SSMP annual report, available at:

https://saltonsea.ca.gov/annual-report-on-the-salton-sea-management-program/

###

To sign up to receive Salton Sea Community Updatesplease click here.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Launches NEPA and Permitting Process for Salton Sea Management Program Phase I: 10-Year Plan

Salton Sea Management Program Update – March 23, 2021

Also: Recruiting for Program Manager

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District (Corps) released a Public Notice today that initiates the Corps’ National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review process for authorizing projects proposed by the Salton Sea Management Program Phase I: 10-year Plan. The Public Notice provides information on how to submit written comments, and may be viewed in both English and Spanish language versions at the website:

https://www.spl.usace.army.mil/Media/Public-Notices/Article/2540379/spl-2019-00951-kjd-salton-sea-management-program-ssmp-10-year-plan-projects-pro/

The Corps Public Notice describes the draft project description as addressing the 29,800 acres of habitat and dust suppression projects identified in the SSMP Phase I: 10-year Plan, including several proposed projects such as the North Lake Demonstration Project, a larger North Lake concept, the Desert Shores Channel Restoration Project, the Audubon Wetland Restoration Project, as well as a Watershed Plan component, and Dust Suppression Action Plan projects. At least 14,900 acres of SSMP 10-year Plan projects would be aquatic habitat restoration projects that convert exposed lakebed to either pond habitat suitable for fish and wildlife or to wetland habitats. Dust suppression projects would address fugitive dust emissions but may also have habitat benefits.  Many of the projects under consideration would require Federal agency authorizations, including permits from the Corps. 

The Corps is the lead Federal agency for the NEPA review process related to its permitting authority under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.  The Corps invited other Federal agencies to participate as cooperating agencies in the preparation of an environmental assessment. To provide comments or request additional information, please follow the link above to the Corps public notice for further instructions.

Last fall, the SSMP team hosted three public workshops and a 30-day written comment period to solicit input to inform a revised project description, which was in turn submitted to the Corps to initiate the NEPA process.  Any prior comments received during the State’s public review, along with the current updated draft project description can be found at the SSMP website at https://saltonsea.ca.gov/planning/ssmp-draft-description-project/.

The Corps anticipates releasing its draft NEPA document for public review and comment this summer.

Recruiting Program Manager

The California Natural Resources Agency is seeking a Program Manager II, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Salton Sea Management Program to be located in Riverside County.

The final filing date for the position is March 25, 2021.

Find details about the position at https://www.calcareers.ca.gov/CalHrPublic/Jobs/JobPosting.aspx?JobControlId=225860.

###

To sign up to receive Salton Sea Community Updates, please click here.

SSMP Annual Report Submitted to State Water Board

Salton Sea Management Program Update – March 5, 2021

Also: Recruiting Program Manager for SSMP; SSMP Team Welcomes a New Team Member

The California Natural Resources Agency has submitted its Annual Report on the Salton Sea Management Program (SSMP) to the State Water Resources Control Board. The report and the status of the SSMP will be the focus of a March 17 public workshop convened by the State Water Board. The workshop begins at 2 p.m.

The report summarizes progress in 2020 toward reducing exposed lakebed and creating habitat at the Salton Sea. Highlights include completing 755 acres of interim dust suppression projects and launching construction of the state’s first large-scale project to create habitat and cover exposed lakebed – the 4,110-acre Species Conservation Habitat (SCH) Project along the south shore of the Salton Sea.

The SCH, enabled by land access and water use agreements with the Imperial Irrigation District, will create a network of ponds with islands and areas of varying water depths to provide important fish and bird habitat and suppress dust emissions to improve regional air quality as the Salton Sea recedes.

The report also looks forward to upcoming projects and milestones, including work to evaluate the feasibility of water importation as a long-term strategy for restoration of the Salton Sea.

Since California is not a significant landowner in the region, collaboration with land-owning entities is critical to future projects. As a result, the SSMP is prioritizing work to secure land access to construct additional projects in strategic locations along the perimeter of the Salton Sea.

Recruiting Program Manager for SSMP

The SSMP is opening the hiring process for another new position. Through the California Department of Water Resources, the SSMP is seeking a program manager to be located at the Salton Sea. Before applying to the upcoming position, interested parties must pass the Program Manager 1 exam by following the instructions included in the exam bulletin. The cut-off date for the exam is March 31 at 4:30 p.m. Please contact Selection Services with any questions, (916) 653-4838.

SSMP Team Welcomes a New Team Member

The SSMP has added a new team member with Jerald Kellum, who will serve as a Fish and Wildlife Technician with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. He is based out of the Imperial Wildlife Area in Imperial County.

Kellum is a Marine Corps veteran, who completed two combat deployments in Iraq.

He worked with Caltrans in the San Diego and Imperial Valley desert region as a highway worker and equipment operator for more than a decade.

Kellum holds a bachelor’s degree in human services and is currently working on a master’s degree.

With expanded staffing, and the expected addition of more positions in 2021, the SSMP team is building capacity to meet the growing demands of existing projects and those planned for the future.

###

To sign up to receive Salton Sea Community Updates, please click here.

Construction Begins on Key Salton Sea Habitat and Air Quality Project

Salton Sea Management Program Update – January 14, 2021

Also: Salton Sea Management Program Welcomes New Team Member; State Completes Additional Surface Roughening Work; Work Continues on SSMP Phase I: 10-Year Plan Environmental Assessment

In a key step to improve conditions at the Salton Sea, construction began this week on the state’s first large-scale project to create habitat and reduce exposed lakebed around the Sea.

Heavy equipmentThe Species Conservation Habitat (SCH) project, located at the southern end of the Sea on both sides of the New River, will create a network of ponds and wetlands to provide important fish and bird habitat and suppress dust emissions to improve regional air quality as the Salton Sea recedes. The SCH project will cover approximately 4,110 acres, an increase over the previously estimated 3,770 acres due to an updated design. Construction is expected to continue through the end of 2023.

Following initial onsite work in late fall, the state’s design-build contractor, Kiewit Infrastructure West Co., this week began clearing vegetation and constructing an interception ditch to drain the site. The contractor also began construction of a southern habitat berm.

“Beginning actual construction on this large project represents important progress,” California Secretary for Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot said. “It is only possible thanks to strong coordination with our local, state and federal partners, including Imperial Irrigation District, Imperial County, the Imperial County Air Pollution Control District, the Colorado River Regional Water Quality Control Board, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Obviously, much more work lies ahead. We need to continue to deliver projects on the ground that improve conditions at the Salton Sea for residents as well as for wildlife.”

Heavy EquipmentThe SCH project anchors phase one of the state’s Salton Sea Management Program, which centers on constructing wetlands and other projects to limit exposed lakebed, reduce airborne dust and restore environmental habitat on 30,000 acres around the Sea. The SCH is a $206.5 million investment in Imperial County that will create as many as 3,000 jobs.

After obtaining site access to the SCH area in May 2019, the state team launched the contracting process and executed a design-build contract to Kiewit in September. This design-build process, which expedites delivery of the project, was made possible through 2016 legislation supported by Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia and Senator Ben Hueso. State agencies also executed a water use agreement with Imperial Irrigation District to enable the project.

Though the construction site is not open to the public due to COVID-19 restrictions, the state team will share images of the project as construction advances on the state’s Salton Sea Management Program website.

Salton Sea Management Program Welcomes New Team Member

Tonya MarshallThe California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is pleased to announce the return of Tonya Marshall to the department as a senior environmental scientist (supervisory) for the SSMP. Marshall has over 12 years’ experience working for state agencies, including almost six years as a supervisor for CDFW’s Regional Habitat Conservation Planning and Renewable Energy programs for the Inland Deserts Region. She started on January 4 and is based in Riverside County.

Marshall graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology (Conservation) from the University of California, Riverside, and holds a Professional Certification in Environmental Leadership from California State University of San Marcos at the Temecula campus. Her work has involved permitting, surveying, managing watershed and large-scale renewable energy projects, and conducting biological analysis in support of environmental compliance. Her background in biology and environmental compliance will be a strong asset to the program.

Additionally, the Department of Water Resources will soon advertise for a Career Executive Appointment position in Sacramento and five engineering and science positions that will be located in Imperial and Riverside counties. The advertisement will occur during the first quarter of 2021 and more information will follow soon. The California Natural Resources Agency also is the hiring process for a Program Manager II and Information Officer. CDFW is in the hiring process for a Fish and Wildlife Technician to be located in Imperial County.

State Completes Additional Surface Roughening Work

The SSMP team completed approximately 700 acres of temporary surface roughening projects at the southern end of the Salton Sea in 2020 as an interim proactive measure to treat areas of exposed lakebed with emissivity potential due to dropping sea levels. Work completed included the 112-acre Bruchard Road Dust Suppression Project (January 2020), the 306-acre New River East Project (November 2020) and the 280-acre New River West Project (December 2020). The three temporary surface roughening projects were located within the footprint of the SCH project and will be inundated with water upon the completion of the SCH project.

Work Continues on SSMP Phase I: 10-Year Plan Environmental Assessment

The SSMP team expects to begin the formal scoping process for the Phase I: 10-Year Plan under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Incorporating input received at three September community workshops and written comments from the public, the team is completing an application package to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) for permitting under the Clean Water Act and environmental compliance under NEPA.

The Corps will be the lead agency for NEPA. The draft Environmental Assessment, targeted for release this spring, will analyze approximately 30,000 acres of aquatic habitat and dust suppression projects proposed under the plan, such as  the proposed North Lake Demonstration Project (in partnership with the Salton Sea Authority and the County of Riverside), the Desert Shores Channel Restoration Project (in partnership with the Imperial County Air Pollution Control District), and Audubon’s Bombay Beach Wetland Restoration Project.

A final Environmental Assessment is targeted for fall 2021.

###

Know someone who would like to receive Salton Sea Community Updates? They can email their request to cnra-saltonsea@resources.ca.gov or visit https://saltonsea.ca.gov/.