SSMP e-Newsletter – August 2023

Tropical Storm Hilary Leaves Minimal Impacts on Salton Sea Restoration Projects

As communities continue to recover from the impacts of Tropical Storm Hilary, active restoration projects around the Salton Sea report minimal construction damage in the wake of the storm.

Species Conservation Habitat Project Accommodates Flood Flows

The Species Conservation Habitat Project (SCH), located at the southern end of the Salton Sea, saw an increase in flows from the New River as a result of the storm. The increase amounted to twice the typical inflow during the active storm period.

 The New River Diversion Structure is a major component of the overall SCH Project. It is also a flood control structure that will allow for water to go through without compromising the integrity of the project.

The New River Diversion Structure was able to adequately capture and retain water as planned. However, the floodgates were opened out of an abundance of caution even though rain levels and New River inflows were below the forecasted levels.

Flood gates at the New River Diversion Structure were opened to allow water to continue its way into the Sea.

After opening the floodgates, water continued its way and streamed through the New River until reaching the Salton Sea. The SCH was designed and built to undertake a 100-year flood event protecting the overall integrity of the project and helping protect adjacent land properties from flooding.

Water overtopped the interception ditch going into the flood buffer zone, causing some sediment to be deposited or removed from the berm.

With the substantial amount of water that came in, the interception ditch, another component of the SCH project, did overtop into the flood buffer zone. The interception ditch is designed to do that, by letting the water flow by gravity into the flood buffer zone. As a result of the overtopping, some erosion did occur in the berm situated between the interception ditch and the flood buffer zone.

Vegetation Enhancement Projects Report No Significant Damage

Some grass bales were moved around the sites in areas with high water flows where water collected formed streams.

Although Tropical Storm Hilary brought in a significant amount of water into the Sea’s shoreline, the Vegetation Enhancement Project sites report no significant damage within the project areas. Storm runoff eroded soil and created waterways known as ephemeral streams. Now that these streams have emerged, the SSMP team can plan to capture, divert, and spread stormwater in a more controlled manner in the future. In addition, these storm events allow the SSMP to better determine and identify the best areas to place the grass bales. Displaced bales will not be returned to their original placement.

This picture at Clubhouse site near Salton City shows how stormwater spread through the site. Existing and new vegetation will benefit from the recent rains.

In fact, the substantial amount of water that moved through the project areas is significantly beneficial for natural plant recruitment and supports existing younger plants across all vegetation enhancement sites.

Events like Tropical Storm Hilary give the SSMP an opportunity to see if projects are operating as designed and how to adaptively manage each project’s maintenance and reinforce any specific areas.

 

Desert Pupfish, the Only Fish Endemic to the Salton Sea

The SSMP is advancing projects at the Salton Sea to protect air quality and provide critical environmental habitat for birds along the Pacific Flyway. The 4,100-acre SCH project, located at the southern end of the Sea, will provide important fish and bird habitat, especially for the desert pupfish (Cyprinodon macularius) that enter the Sea through the irrigation drains.

In a recent interview with SSMP’s Environmental Scientists and Biologists, we captured important information to share with you about the importance of this particular and iconic character in the Salton Sea’s ecosystem.

Members of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife provided the following interview:

Hi Charley, Sharon, and Brett, can you share with us some relevant details about the Desert Pupfish at the Sea?

The desert pupfish is the only fish endemic to the Salton sink and was listed as a California endangered species in 1980. It is a small, robust fish, usually less than three inches in length. The lifespan is typically one year but can be as long as three years or as short as six weeks. The desert pupfish tolerates an extreme range of environmental conditions such as: salinity levels ranging from fresh water up to almost double ocean water salinity (about 35 ppt); water temperatures as high as 108° F and as low as 40° F; and low oxygen levels.

Also, important to mention is that the desert pupfish may protect itself from threats and stressors is by diving down into the substrate.

Why is the desert pupfish found here?

Currently, natural populations of desert pupfish likely still occur in the Salton Sea immediately adjacent to irrigation drain and creek outflows, nearby shoreline pools, freshwater ponds and irrigation drains, as well as in portions of creeks/washes that are tributary to the Salton Sea. Desert pupfish historically occupied a variety of habitats ranging from springs and cienegas to margins or backwaters of large water bodies. Desert pupfish typically prefer clear waters having little to no velocity, sand-silt substrate, and moderate to abundant aquatic vegetation. These characteristics make the Salton Sink Basin of California, the Colorado River Delta, and Laguna Salada Basin in Mexico an adequate habitat areas for the desert pupfish to thrive.

What do they eat?

Desert pupfish are opportunistic omnivores, consuming algae, pieces of macrophytes, detritus, aquatic insects and larvae, aquatic crustaceans, snails, and occasionally their own eggs and young.  They engage in pit digging, where the fish will excavate and defend an area of soft substrate while searching for food. Also worth mentioning that a study conducted in 1975 found that desert pupfish significantly reduced mosquito larvae, and therefore may be an ideal species to replace the non-native mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) in controlling mosquito populations in the Salton Basin.

Why is the desert pupfish important to the Salton Sea’s ecosystem?

The desert pupfish is also a source of food for numerous native and non-native species in the Salton Basin, including various bird species such as black skimmer (Rynchops niger), mammals such as raccoons (Procyon lotor) and coyote (Canis latrans), aquatic beetles, non-native fishes and other non-native fauna such as red swamp crayfish (Procambarus clarkii), spiny softshell turtle (Apalone spinifera), and bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus). 

How is the SSMP helping protect and enhance habitat for the desert pupfish at the Sea?

The Salton Sea Management Program is currently working to monitor and conserve the endangered desert pupfish habitat around the Salton Sea. The SCH project, although not fully completed and as work continues, endangered desert pupfish and a broad range of bird species already are actively using the new habitat created with completion of the interception ditch and other major important project milestones.

 

State Water Board launches Spanish webpage for Salton Sea

To continue supporting and addressing the need for translated information, the State Water Resources Control Board has created a Spanish webpage dedicated for the Salton Sea Management Program. This page mirrors the English version of this website, which includes direct links to the SSMP website and the Colorado River Regional Water Quality Control Board webpage, meeting announcements, past recordings, and other relevant documents. Presentations from the 2023 Water Board Salton Sea Workshop are also found in both English and Spanish.

Click here to visit the Spanish website.

 

Upcoming SSMP Engagement Opportunities

SSMP Community Engagement Committee to Meet on September 14

The SSMP Community Engagement Committee will meet at 2 p.m. September 14 for a virtual meeting on Zoom. Spanish Interpretation will be available. Habrá interpretación en español.

Join us for a quick overview of the Community Needs Strategy document. Additionally, we will workshop the Outreach Plan and Engagement Schedule ahead of the 60-day public comment period.

SSMP Community Engagement Committee Meeting

Please click the link below to join the webinar: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82069914652

Or dial: +1669-900-6833

Webinar ID: 820 6991 4652

 

California Biodiversity Day 2023

California Biodiversity Day takes place on September 7th of each year, marking the anniversary of the launch of the California Biodiversity Initiative in 2018. This annual event celebrates our state’s exceptional biodiversity, while also encouraging actions to protect it.

Come celebrate California’s biodiversity this year during the week of September 2nd – 10th!

Click here for more information and events. Please use the hashtag #CABiodiversity to share your biodiversity day adventures.

Follow us on Social

@CalNatResourcesJoin “Charging Ahead Toward a 100% Clean Energy Future” on 9.6 w/ Secty. @WadeCrowfoot; hear from #energy experts to discuss strides CA has made, hurdles we face, and the path to maintain reliable and affordable energy to power communities. Register now ➡https://bit.ly/45iHZTd

SSMP e-Newsletter – June 2023

SSMP Community Engagement

High School Students Visit Project at the Salton Sea

Group of Students at Causeway at the SCH Project

Young leaders from the Youth Environmental Health Internship (YEHI), a program led by Comité Cívico del Valle, visited the Species Conservation Habitat Project (SCH). Students from different high schools toured the project site to learn how it helps protect public health by suppressing dust from the 4,100-acres project area. Salton Sea Management Program staff shared SCH project features that will mix water from the Salton Sea and New River and then spread it over exposed lakebed to suppress dust and provide habitat for the Desert Pupfish and migratory birds on the Pacific Flyway.

“I genuinely wish we knew more about this in our education system, because it impacts our health in the here and now,” said Terry Partida Rodriguez, a 12th grade student (recent graduate) from Brawley Union High School. “I think this was a great opportunity to learn more about the Salton Sea Management Program and to really see what they’re doing. I hope more people get the opportunity to get involved with the environment just like us!”

Group listening to details about the SCH Project

“I found the project fascinating and as an eye-opening experience because many people in the Imperial Valley don’t realize how much diversity we have,” said Fernanda Cruz, a YEHI intern and 10th grade student from Calexico High School. “The Imperial Valley can be perceived as a place with low biodiversity where we hardly see any species, however, that’s not the case. The SCH plans to recreate a large ecosystem for multiple species found in the area by combining water from the New River with water from the Salton Sea.”

Public Affairs Officer going over details about the New River Diversion structure

On schedule for completion in 2023, the 4,100-acre SCH is the first of many projects the SSMP team is implementing as part of the SSMP Phase 1: 10-Year Plan.

Recap on 2023 State Water Board Salton Sea Workshop

The State Water Resources Control Board held its Annual Salton Sea Workshop on May 16 and May 17 at Imperial Valley College. A remote viewing location at the North Shore Beach and Yacht Club and a virtual viewing option were also provided. The public workshop included presentations and updates from multiple agencies and organizations working towards improving conditions at the Sea. Presentations included an overview of the Water Board’s role, an update from the SSMP, an overview of the Monitoring Implementation Plan, an overview of the Community Needs Strategy, a recap of the Salton Sea Long-Range Plan, and an overview of the Salton Sea Feasibility Study being led by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. To enrich the conversations, the workshop also included panels with experts in different realms. The panels included discussions on hydrology and the Colorado River drought, habitat and wildlife, air quality and public health, water quality, and community voices and projects.

SSMP Team presenting at Water Board meetingThe SSMP team appreciates feedback received from meeting participants, presenters, and attendees. The SSMP would especially like to thank the Water Board for providing an opportunity to report on major milestones achieved in 2022, share more about upcoming projects, address relevant challenges for project delivery, and reiterate the State’s commitment to meeting the acreage goals to suppress dust emissions and improve ecological conditions at the Sea.

Water Board members and the public provided important feedback and recommendations to the SSMP team during the public workshop. Recommendations included providing more clarity to tables and graphics to report on progress achieved, updating the SSMP website to create a better user experience, and including a project visualization tool to find relevant updates for SSMP projects. The SSMP team has taken plenty of notes and will work to deliver on the recommendations to help contribute to the transparency and the clarity of the program.

The meeting recordings are now available at the Water Boards’ Salton Sea website.

SSMP Team

Employee Spotlight: Samantha Arthur

Portrait of Samantha ArthurThe 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 Samantha Arthur in the spotlight to share more about her important work, as part of the SSMP Team.

Samantha is the Assistant Secretary for Salton Sea Policy at the California Natural Resources Agency for the for the Salton Sea Management Program. She has been serving in this role since April of 2023.

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

As Assistant Secretary for Salton Sea Policy at the California Natural Resources Agency, I lead the Salton Sea Management Program to address air quality and ecological threats at the Salton Sea. My charge is to carry out the Newsom Administration’s goal to stabilize the Salton Sea and restore nearly 30,000 acres of exposed lakebed to suppress dust and create habitat.

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

I enjoy working with such a wide range of people at the Salton Sea, including local community members, community-based organizations, local elected representatives, water districts, and federal agencies. In my first two months in this role, I’ve been struck by the dedication and passion of community members, agency partners and SSMP staff.

  • What inspired you to seek a career in conservation and ecological restoration?

My most treasured experiences and memories are time spent with family and friends outdoors, whether its sports at a local park or camping in a remote wilderness. I think this must be what drew me to a career at the intersection of people and nature. I’ve continued pursue work in conservation and restoration for the opportunity to improve the wellbeing of people and ecosystems and for the challenge of working across diverse perspectives to develop durable change.  

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

I envision improved air quality, improved habitat for birds and fish, and improved quality of life for folks living in shoreline communities, and Coachella and Imperial Valleys.


SSMP e-Newsletter – May 2023

Upcoming Salton Sea Engagement Opportunities

REMINDER: State Water Board Salton Sea Workshopset for May 16 & 17

The State Water Board will be holding its annual workshop on the status of Phase 1 of the Salton Sea Management Program on May 16, 2023, from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., and May 17, 2023, from 5:00 p.m.to 9:00 p.m.

The meeting will take place over two days and will provide live interpretation in Spanish, with multiple options for participation: 1) in-person at Imperial Valley College, 2) remote viewing at the North Shore Beach and Yacht Club, and 3) virtually via Zoom (to provide comment) or webcast (watch-only).

Every year, the California Natural Resources Agency provides an update to the State Water Board and interested parties on the progress that has been made on the Salton Sea Management Program. The workshop is an opportunity for participants to provide input to the State Water Board regarding the status of the Salton Sea Management Program. Input can be provided by submitting written comments in advance or providing oral comments on either day of the workshop.

Read the public notice and learn more about the Salton Sea and how to participate in the workshop at waterboards.ca.gov/saltonsea. For questions about the workshop contact Stephanie Holstege at Stephanie.Holstege@waterboards.ca.gov.

CONFIRMED: Public Meetings for theImperial Streams Salton Sea and Tributaries Feasibility Study set for May 18

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in partnership with the Salton Sea Management Program and the Salton Sea Authority, are hosting two virtual public scoping meetings on May 18 to begin a new feasibility study.

Please join us in the upcoming Public Meetings. Both meetings will contain the same information. You can participate at the most convenient time.

When: Thursday, May 18, 2023. At 1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. & 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.

Click here to join the meeting: https://bit.ly/SaltonSeaMeeting

Or Dial In: +1 (305) 224-1968

Facebook Live in Spanish will also be available at “Salton Sea COEE” page.

This study will aim to preserve or restore ecosystems of national significance; address an identified threat to public health, safety, or welfare and/or preserve or restore habitats of importance for federally protected species, including migratory birds; and ​contribute to other ongoing or planned federal, State, or local restoration initiatives.

The environmental analyses will take into consideration areas including but not limited to effects to the human environment, biological and cultural resources, Tribal resources and consultation, and California Natural Resources Agency consultation. At this initial phase of the study, a determination for the appropriate level of environmental documentation has yet to be established. Additional outreach and engagement will be scheduled after this initial phase of the study.

Please note that the Corps is in receipt of the public comments for the Salton Sea Management Program’s Salton Sea Long – Range Plan. Those comments previously submitted will be taken into consideration as part of this study. This initial scoping period will be an opportunity for additional or duplicative comments and suggestions regarding the restoration of the Salton Sea and its tributaries.

Comments or suggestions will be accepted from May 8, 2023, to June 6, 2023.

Comments should be mailed to:

U.S. Army Corps of EngineersLos Angeles DistrictPlanning DivisionAttn: Emily Lester3636 N. Central Avenue, Suite 900Phoenix, AZ 85012

Comments can also be sent to CESPL-Imperial-Streams-Salton-Sea@usace.army.mil

The English and Spanish Public Notice can be found here.

SSMP e-Newsletter – April 2023

SSMP Team

SSMP Welcomes New Team Member

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

Picture of Sam Przeklasa holding a birdSamantha (Sam) Przeklasa has recently rejoined CDFW’s Salton Sea program as an Environmental Scientist (Avian Biologist) with a renewed enthusiasm for the region and the conservation work being done.

Sam has a B.S. from UC Davis in wildlife fisheries and conservation biology and an A.S. in Geographic Information Systems from American River College. She has previous experience working for agencies including USGS, U.S. Forest Service and CDFW focused on avian species including Northern Goshawk, Spotted Owls, Greater Sage Grouse, Ring-necked Pheasants and other upland birds and waterfowl. She looks forward to continuing to help with avian monitoring and conservation efforts at the Sea.

She has a huge love of birding, especially by ear and enjoys native gardening (for the birds of course!). Her next love is coffee, and she recommends that everyone look up bird friendly coffee, a Smithsonian Institute certification supporting greater biodiversity in coffee production. She finds that the best way to learn about something is to experience it on the ground level in the field, preferably with her dogs. She looks forward to applying these passions in the field and to further avian conservation.

Upcoming SSMP Engagement Opportunities

REMINDER: Join the SSMP Community WorkshopTOMORROW

Salton Sea Workshop Reminder

The SSMP team invites you to participate in its next SSMP Community Workshop on April 20 at 5:30 p.m. Attendees may participate in person or virtually and learn about projects underway and current planning efforts at the Sea; get an in-depth overview of the recently released 2023 SSMP Annual Report; and meet with members of the State’s Salton Sea team to ask questions and learn more about progress made at the Salton Sea during 2022.

Please join us in person at Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians Tameka Gym, 66725 Martinez Road, Thermal, CA 92274. Doors open at 5:00 p.m.

You may also participate virtually by clicking here: http://bit.ly/SaltonSeaWorkshop  or by dialing (305) 226-1968.

Facebook Live in Spanish will also be broadcasted on the “Salton Sea COEE” page.

SSMP Community Workshop on Annual Report – April 20, 5:30 p.m.In-person location: Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians Tameka Gym, 66725 Martinez Road, Thermal, CA 92274.Zoom Link: http://bit.ly/SaltonSeaWorkshopDial: (305) 226-1968.Facebook Live in Spanish: “Salton Sea COEE” page

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

REMINDER: State Water Board Salton Sea Workshopset for May 16 & 17

The State Water Board will be holding its annual workshop on the status of Phase 1 of the Salton Sea Management Program on May 16, 2023, from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., and May 17, 2023, from 5:00 p.m.to 9:00 p.m.

The meeting will take place over two days and will provide live interpretation in Spanish, with multiple options for participation: 1) in-person at Imperial Valley College, 2) remote viewing at the North Shore Beach and Yacht Club, and 3) virtually via Zoom (to provide comment) or webcast (watch-only).

Every year, the California Natural Resources Agency provides an update to the State Water Board and interested parties on the progress that has been made on the Salton Sea Management Program. The workshop is an opportunity for participants to provide input to the State Water Board regarding the status of the Salton Sea Management Program. Input can be provided by submitting written comments in advance or providing oral comments on either day of the workshop.

Read the public notice and learn more about the Salton Sea and how to participate in the workshop at waterboards.ca.gov/saltonsea. For questions about the workshop contact Stephanie Holstege at Stephanie.Holstege@waterboards.ca.gov.

March

Samantha Arthur Appointed to Serve as Assistant Secretary for Salton Sea Policy

The SSMP is pleased to share that Governor Gavin Newsom has appointed Samantha Arthur to serve as the Assistant Secretary for Salton Sea Policy at the Natural Resources Agency. Arthur has served as Working Lands Director for Audubon California since 2019, and was Conservation Project Director there from 2016-2019 and Conservation Project Manager from 2014-2016. She is also a member of the California Water Commission.

Samantha ArthurArthur is expected to officially join the team in late April.

“Samantha brings substantial experience planning and managing complex projects in California, particularly in the Central Valley, through her work with Audubon California. She understands state and federal processes and permitting agencies, and shares our passion and commitment to driving implementation of projects at the Salton Sea,” California Secretary for Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot said. “We look forward to integrating her into our team and continuing our work with partners to deliver on the state’s commitments at the Sea.”

 

SSMP Annual Report Submitted to State Water Board

2023 Annual Report Cover

The California Natural Resources Agency has submitted its 2023 Annual Report on the Salton Sea Management Program (SSMP) to the State Water Resources Control Board, prepared in compliance with Order WR 2017-0134.

English and Spanish versions of the report can be found at www.saltonsea.ca.gov under the Quick Links heading.

The report summarizes progress in 2022 toward reducing exposed lakebed and creating habitat at the Salton Sea. Highlights include continuous work to deliver on the SSMP’s Phase-1: 10-Year Plan projects and taking steps toward programmatic access agreements with landowners to help accelerate dust suppression and aquatic habitat projects at the Sea. The largest restoration project in the Sea’s history – the Species Conservation Habitat project – completed major milestones in 2022 and remains on track for completion by the end of 2023. The SSMP also made progress on vegetation enhancement work at three sites around the Sea.

The report highlights development of the draft Long-Range Plan (LRP) with the support of Tribal leadership, community-based organizations and state, local, and federal agencies. The draft LRP was submitted as planned to the State Water Board in late 2022. The annual report also describes the cost-share agreement signed by the SSMP, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), and the Salton Sea Authority to launch a federal feasibility study to identify and recommend projects and actions for the long-term restoration of the Sea. In June, the Corps released for public review and feedback the Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Phase I: 10-Year Plan.  The EA provides a broad umbrella for environmental compliance for a variety of SSMP Phase I: 10-year Plan projects, including ponds, wetlands, and dust suppression and vegetation enhancement projects around the Sea. Following receipt of public comments, the EA is being revised and is anticipated to be finalized in Spring 2023.

Through various opportunities, the team strengthened outreach and engagement with local communities so that local input can better shape the work of the SSMP. These opportunities included multiple public-facing meetings of the Community Engagement Committee, the Long-Range Plan Committee, the Science Committee, the Independent Review Panel for water importation proposals led by the University of Santa Cruz, and community-oriented meetings throughout the year. The team also continued working towards identifying community amenities and vital community infrastructure needs by engaging directly and on the ground with residents from the Salton Sea region to help inform a strategy document that will be completed in the coming months.

The annual report and the status of the SSMP will be the focus of a public workshop convened by the State Water Board in May 16 and 17. Workshop details are available on the State Water Board’s Salton Sea program webpage.

In addition, the SSMP team plans to hold a community workshop in advance of the State Water Board’s workshop to provide an overview of the report and answer questions. This meeting will occur on April 20, participants may join in person at Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians Tameka Gym, 66725 Martinez Road, Thermal, CA 92274; participate virtually by clicking here: http://bit.lySaltonSeaWorkshop; or by dialing (305) 226-1968. More information on this meeting is found below in this edition and the SSMP website.

UPDATED: Request For Qualifications for Salton Sea Management Program Technical Support

The Department of Water Resources (DWR), Division of Regional Assistance, invites qualified firms with extensive background in engineering and environmental services to support DWR in the conceptualization, design, environmental permit acquisition, construction, and monitoring of dust suppression and habitat restoration projects to submit a Statement of Qualifications (SOQ) to support the Salton Sea Management Program.  The Contractor will provide expert technical advice and consultation in planning and project management support; environmental permitting and compliance support; agricultural and land use economic analysis; hydrodynamic, air quality, and ecological modeling; engineering design support; and environmental and design support during construction in support of DWR compliance with the California State Water Resources Control Board Order 2017-0134. Estimated Contract Amount $5,000,000 – $10,000,000.

This opportunity opened March 6 and will close on April 13, 2022. The anticipated length of term for this agreement is five years. To learn more about this opportunity visit: https://caleprocure.ca.gov/event/3860/10185861

SSMP Team

SSMP Welcomes New Team Members

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

Maria Flores

In March, Maria Davydova-Flores joined the CDFW as the Salton Sea Program’s new Senior Environmental Scientist Specialist, headquartered in the Bermuda Dunes field office.

Maria has a B.S. in Biology: Ecology, Evolution and Behavior from University of Texas at Austin. She has lived and worked here in Coachella Valley for the past ten years, working at the Colorado River Basin Regional Water Quality Control Board. Starting as a scientific aid in 2012 and promoting to environmental scientist two years later, Maria has obtained extensive knowledge of Salton Sea water quality issues and state and federal environmental regulations. Over the past eight years, Maria has gained vast experience working with Salton Sea communities and stakeholders as the Regional Water Board’s environmental justice coordinator, outreach coordinator, Tribal coordinator, and water quality standards planning coordinator.

She has been actively involved in the Salton Sea Management Program Community Engagement Committee since its very early days in 2016, when it was known as the Outreach Committee, where she took a leading role in planning and facilitating 2016 and 2017 community workshops. Maria is very excited to continue her involvement with the Salton Sea in her new role as the Salton Sea Regulatory Specialist.

Upcoming SSMP Engagement Opportunities

SSMP Community Engagement Committee to Meet on April 3

The SSMP Community Engagement Committee will meet on April 3 at 11:00 a.m. for a virtual meeting on Zoom. Spanish Interpretation will be available. Habrá interpretación en español.

SSMP Community Engagement Committee Meeting

Please click the link below to join the webinar: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88412977625

Or dial: +16694449171

Webinar ID: 884 1297 7625

Join the SSMP Community Workshop on April 20

The SSMP team invites you to participate in its next SSMP Community Workshop on April 20 at 5:30 p.m. Attendees may participate in person or virtually and learn about projects underway and current planning efforts at the Sea; get an in-depth overview of the recently released 2023 SSMP Annual Report; and meet with members of the State’s Salton Sea team to ask questions and learn more about progress made at the Salton Sea during 2022.

Please join us in person at Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians Tameka Gym, 66725 Martinez Road, Thermal, CA 92274. Doors open at 5:00 p.m.

You may also participate virtually by clicking here: http://bit.ly/SaltonSeaWorkshop  or by dialing (305) 226-1968.

Facebook Live in Spanish will also be broadcasted on the “Salton Sea COEE” page.

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

April 20, 2023 Presentation Slides

State Water Board Salton Sea Workshop set for May 16 & 17

The State Water Board will be holding its annual workshop on the status of Phase 1 of the Salton Sea Management Program on May 16, 2023, from 12:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m., and May 17, 2023, from 5:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.

The meeting will take place over two days and will provide live interpretation in Spanish, with multiple options for participation: 1) in-person at Imperial Valley College, 2) remote viewing at the North Shore Beach and Yacht Club, and 3) virtually via Zoom (to provide comment) or webcast (watch-only).

Every year, the California Natural Resources Agency provides an update to the State Water Board and interested parties on the progress that has been made on the Salton Sea Management Program. The workshop is an opportunity for participants to provide input to the State Water Board regarding the status of the Salton Sea Management Program. Input can be provided by submitting written comments in advance or providing oral comments on either day of the workshop.

Read the public notice and learn more about the Salton Sea and how to participate in the workshop at waterboards.ca.gov/saltonsea. For questions about the workshop contact Stephanie Holstege at Stephanie.Holstege@waterboards.ca.gov.

SSMP e-Newsletter – January, 2023

Work Continues at Vegetation Enhancement Projects Around the Salton Sea

A mixture of native plant seed was placed between the rows of grass bales that were placed during phase-1 of the Vegetation Enhancement Projects at Clubhouse and West Bombay Beach sites.

The SSMP is implementing the vegetation enhancement projects in partnership with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation near communities around the Salton Sea. The projects cover approximately 1,700 acres and are located near the communities of Salton City and Bombay Beach. The projects aim to establish and enhance native vegetation on the exposed lakebed to reduce wind-blown dust and improve habitat value for desert wildlife. Native plants being established at the project sites include iodine bush, big saltbush, salt grass, honey mesquite, palo verde, among others still being considered.

Phase 1 of the Vegetation Enhancement Projects consists of grading, grass bale placement, and site modifications in the project areas. Grass bales will help protect plants and vegetation that will be coming into the projects as part of the phase 2, which includes planting and/or seeding and irrigation. Until sites get planted, the bales create a form engineered surface roughening for interim dust suppression, important to the nearby communities.

The SSMP team was successful in getting approximately 290 acres seeded within the existing rows of grass bales at Clubhouse and West Bombay Beach sites. This work was done as part of the second phase of these projects during the months of November and December. At the request of residents at our public meetings, we will be adding native trees to complement our native shrub mix throughout all sites, where feasible.

A total of 1,085 acres of vegetation enhancement projects began implementation in 2022. The team is working with local nurseries to grow out tens of thousands of plants for placement during this winter/spring season. Seeding and planting will continue over the next couple of months.

 

SSMP Team Employee Spotlight

Steven Garcia

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 Steven Garcia in the spotlight to share more about his important work, as part of the SSMP Team.

Garcia is a Senior Engineer at the California Department of Water Resources for the for the Salton Sea Management Program. He oversees the engineering design and implementation of Vegetation Enhancement and Dust Suppression Projects.

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

Hello, I am a Senior Engineer with the SSMP, and my main role is to coordinate the engineering design and implementation of Vegetation Enhancement and Dust Suppression Projects. I work with biologist, ecologist, geologist, and other engineers to develop project designs that will result in vegetation on Salton Sea exposed lakebed. My day-to-day duties include planning and designing, developing bid packages, and coordinating construction activities for vegetation enhancement projects. These 2-phased projects were designed to immediately reduce dust emitting from within the project limits, by using bales, and are currently being planted with native vegetation that will continue to limit dust emissions into the future.  

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

The part about my job that I enjoy most is working with a diverse group of professionals to come up with project designs in a difficult environment to work in. Trying to establish thousands of plants has its challenges, but doing so in a remote, arid, and extremely hot environment is even more difficult. The project areas are not just remote but are also not easily accessible with typical equipment. We’ve had to come up with innovative engineering solutions, adapting to unforeseen constraints, to successfully construct dust suppression projects, and provide water to plants and seeds.

  • What inspired you to seek a career in implementing and managing ecological restoration projects?

I started my career with DWR as a student assistant with the South-Central Regional Office, working on the San Joaquin River Restoration Project (SJRRP). As a student, I worked with biologist, engineers, and geologist to survey and monitor the river from Friant Dam to the Chowchilla bypass. This was the first time I ever saw a river run dry.  It was unconceivable to me that the San Joaquin River could just run dry and end.  The US Bureau of Reclamation released pulse flows as part of this program so that we could monitor gravel bed mobility.  Over the three (3) years I worked as a student on the SJRRP, I saw the river go from a dying ecosystem to one that was thriving due to the pulse releases. Seeing the River come back to life by just adding water gave me hope that there is still a chance to restore or enhance the natural environment. Before my time in the SJRRP, I wanted to be a structural engineer who designs tall buildings and bridges. After my experience working on the SJRRP, I decided to focus on environmental and water resources engineering, to do my part, and make it possible for the natural and human ecosystems to co-exist and thrive.

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

I see the Salton Sea being divided into brackish ponds that will host fish to support the millions of migrating birds of the pacific flyway, and other brackish/saltwater ponds for recreation. Fully established vegetation enhancement projects will cover the exposed lakebed of the Salton Sea and will be protecting the community by reducing dust emissions from it. The vegetation will also provide habitat for local wildlife. I would love to see a rim trail, for pedestrians and bicycles, around the Sea that would connect all projects so people may experience the Sea in its entirety.

Overall, I envision the Salton Sea as place where we people from around the world will be able to come recreate and enjoy the beautiful ecosystem that has been conserved.  Potentially being inspired to create beautiful art or to converse the natural environment from where they reside.

  • Thank you Steven!

Welcome a New SSMP Team Member

AnaLisa SaldanaAnaLisa Saldaña is a new Staff Services Analyst in the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, as part of the SSMP team. She is filling a position that became vacant last year and is based out of the Bermuda Dunes office. She is supporting with administrative tasks needed to make the program run smoothly.

AnaLisa was previously employed with the Department of Development Services-Canyon Springs as an Office Technician. She holds a degree in Liberal Arts and one in General Studies, both from Palo Verde College. Although AnaLisa is a native of the California low deserts, she has resided in the Coachella Valley since 2004. AnaLisa enjoys attending outdoor activities in the Coachella Valley and spending time with family and friends.

 

Share Your Feedback on the Draft Salton Sea Long-Range Plan

Salton Sea Long-Range Plan ImageThe Salton Sea Management Program has released the Draft Salton Sea Long-Range Plan for public review. This draft plan was developed with support from Tribal leadership, community-based organizations, and interested parties. The proposed concepts within the plan intend to protect or improve air quality, water quality, and wildlife habitat to reduce health and environmental consequences anticipated from the long-term recession of the Salton Sea.

Please visit SaltonSea.ca.gov to view the draft plan and provide your feedback. A Spanish version of this draft plan can also be found here.

Comments may be sent via email to SaltonSeaLRP@resources.ca.gov, or via regular mail to the California Natural Resources Agency, Attn: Salton Sea Long-Range Plan Review, 715 P Street, 20th Floor Sacramento, CA 95814. Please send your comments on or before March 17 at 11:59 p.m. PST.

Following the receipt of comments on March 17, the long-range planning effort will become part of a feasibility study led by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  SSMP will partner with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Salton Sea Authority to undertake this feasibility study. The official title of the feasibility study is: Imperial Streams Salton Sea and Tributaries Feasibility Study. Additional public input opportunities will be available during this process to shape and enhance the plan for future actions at the Sea.

Thank you for supporting the future of the Salton Sea!

SSMP Community Workshop set for March 1

Join the SSMP Team on a virtual community workshop on March 1, at 5:30 p.m. During the workshop, the team will provide program updates and seek your feedback to help continue shaping the future of the Sea. Spanish interpretation will be available. Habrá interpretación al español.

 

Meeting details, Zoom link, materials, and other documents are forthcoming and will be uploaded to the SSMP website as they become available. For questions or comments, please contact: Cnra-saltonsea@resources.ca.gov.

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SSMP Milestones

Draft Salton Sea Long-Range Plan Released

for Public Comment

Salton Sea Long-Range Plan ImageThe Salton Sea Management Program (SSMP) has posted its Draft Salton Sea Long-Range Plan for public review and comment.Developed with support from Tribal leadership, community-based organizations, and local, state, and federal agencies, the draft plan identifies concepts for long-term restoration of the Sea beyond the scope of the SSMP’s Phase 1: 10-Year Plan.

The goal of the plan is to protect or improve air quality, water quality, and wildlife habitat to prevent or reduce health and environmental consequences anticipated from the long-term recession of the Salton Sea.

A Spanish version of the draft plan will be available in early January on the SSMP website. The posting of the Spanish version will begin a 45-day comment period. Comments may be sent via email to SaltonSeaLRP@resources.ca.gov, or via regular mail to the California Natural Resources Agency, Attn: Salton Sea Long-Range Plan Review, 715 P Street, 20th Floor Sacramento, CA 95814.

Once the plan is finalized, the long-range planning effort will transition to an environmental review process led by a federal partnering agency. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will undertake this process in partnership with the Salton Sea Management Program and the Salton Sea Authority through the Imperial Streams Salton Sea and Tributaries Feasibility Study.

In the future, there will continue to be multiple opportunities to provide comments and input to shape and enhance the plan for future actions at the Sea. A Public Scoping period will provide opportunities for tribes, community members, responsible agencies, regional public agencies, and interested parties to comment on: locations, capacities, and operations of new structures and facilities to evaluate in the Environmental Impact Report (EIR)/Environmental Impact Statement (EIS); alternatives to evaluate in the EIR/EIS; impacts and mitigation to evaluate in the EIR/EIS; and other issues that the lead agency should consider for the EIR/EIS.

The Long-Range Plan is being developed as a second phase beyond the Phase 1: 10-year Plan projects that aim to improve conditions by constructing 30,000 acres of habitat and dust suppression projects by the year 2028, which will establish at least 14,900 acres of aquatic habitat, with the purpose of suppressing dust emissions and improving ecological conditions at the Salton Sea.

Local, State and Federal Agencies to Partner in Feasibility Study for Long-Term Restoration of the Salton Sea

Firmantes de un Acuerdo de Costos Compartidos

Signatories of a Cost-Share Agreement: G. Patrick O’Dowd, Executive Director/ General Manager, Salton Sea Authority (Left); Col. Julie Balten, Commander, Los Angeles District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (center); Cindy Messer, Lead Deputy Director, California Department of Water Resources (Right).

 

The Salton Sea Management Program, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District and the Salton Sea Authority have signed an agreement launching a study aimed at identifying projects and actions for the long-term restoration of the Salton Sea. A Cost-Share Agreement was signed at a recent ceremony at the North Shore Yacht Club in Mecca on December 16.

The Corps has received funding to initiate and complete the Imperial Streams Salton Sea and Tributaries Feasibility Study, which will investigate and recommend projects and/or actions to contribute to improved public health and potential environmental restoration opportunities for communities around the Salton Sea.

The study will build on the Salton Sea Management Program’s Long-Range Plan document, released as a draft for public comment on December 15. The cost-share agreement brings together a diverse set of skills and experience from the three agencies and creates a framework for working collaboratively. Additionally, the agreement could potentially lead to significant additional investments for the long-term restoration of the Salton Sea.

Salton Sea Monitoring Implementation Plan Completed

Salton Sea Monitoring Implementation Plan Cover ImageDeveloped in collaboration with the SSMP Science Committee, the Monitoring Implementation Plan (MIP) is a regional-scale monitoring plan for the Salton Sea ecosystem. It describes monitoring activities to measure conditions of water, air quality, land cover, biological resources, and socioeconomics. The MIP provides a framework for future project-scale monitoring plans and identifies and prioritizes filling of existing data gaps. It also promotes practices to best store, manage, and make monitoring data publicly available in a timely manner.

Working groups were formed to provide input and review of early drafts of the MIP in July-August 2021. Invited members to these working groups included key Salton Sea experts and stakeholders in several resource areas: hydrology and water quality; air quality and geography (land cover); biological resources; socioeconomics; and data management. The Draft MIP was released at a public workshop in February 2022 to solicit input and comments from the public and the SSMP Science Committee. The Science Committee’s comments were reviewed by the working groups in July-August 2022 and considered in preparation of the 2022 final MIP. The MIP is a living document that can be updated in future to respond to the changing ecosystem and management needs of the Salton Sea.

 

A copy of the MIP can be found here. La version es español del MIP se encuentra aquí.

Respond to the Salton Sea

Community Amenities Survey Today!

In recognition of the need for greater investments in communities in the Salton Sea region, CNRA is supporting the development of a Community Amenities Strategy document. The goal of the document is to identify community amenities that can be undertaken within SSMP projects, as well as to identify additional broader regional needs that fall outside the scope of the SSMP. The Community Amenities Strategy will focus on core strategies related to recreation and equitable access, climate resilience, education and programming, transportation, broadband access, public health, and workforce.

Community feedback is integral to the formation of the Salton Sea Community Amenities Strategy to ensure the document reflects the needs of communities at and around the Sea. This month and through January, Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI) and Better World Group (BWG) are conducting a survey to collect responses from residents around the Salton Sea. Results from this survey will help inform a strategy that includes recommendations for how to incorporate community needs into restoration efforts at the Sea and identify opportunities for meaningful investments and policies change outside of the scope of the SSMP. The English survey is linked here. La encuesta en español se encuentra aquí. Survey respondents will receive $10 for completing this 5-minute survey. Feel free to share the survey with your respective organizations, community partners, and community residents.

In the coming weeks, KDI and BWG will also be hosting workshops and engagement activities at local community events to collect input, advice, and ideas from residents, in both Riverside and Imperial Counties. Community members with ideas on events to attend, community residents that should be part of focus group work, or who want to be involved are encouraged to contact Daniel Garcia at daniel@kounkuey.org.

Thank you and Happy New Year!

SubsecretarioAsistente20230103

SSMP Deputy Assistant Secretary, Mario Llanos presenting at Calipatria High School library on December 7.

The Salton Sea Management Program team thanks each of you for your continued participation, support, and engagement on the Salton Sea. We thank all of those who are actively engaged in the multiple spaces that the SSMP has created for partners and community members to help contribute to achieving substantial progress for restoration of the Salton Sea ecosystem.

With over 30 engagement opportunities throughout 2022, we acknowledge and appreciate the active interest and participation from tribal representatives, members of the SSMP Committees, and community members of the Salton Sea region. Online public meetings included the Community Engagement Committee, the Science Committee, the Long -Range Plan Committee, public meetings from our partners for the Environmental Assessment of the 10-Year Plan Projects, and most recently, the first in-person SSMP Community Meeting on December 7, 2022 at the Calipatria High School library.

The SSMP team is looking forward to a productive 2023 to continue to enhance the presence in the community as well as creating spaces for continued collaboration and community participation.

Local, State and Federal Agencies to Partner in Feasibility Study for Long-Term Restoration of the Salton Sea

Cost-Share Agreement Signed at Event at the Sea

SALTON SEA, Calif. – The Salton Sea Management Program, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Los Angeles District, and the Salton Sea Authority today signed an agreement launching a study aimed at identifying projects and actions for the long-term restoration of the Salton Sea.

The Corps has received funding to initiate and complete the Imperial Streams Salton Sea and Tributaries Feasibility Study, which will investigate and recommend projects and/or actions to contribute to improved public health and potential environmental restoration opportunities for communities around the Salton Sea.

The study will build on the Salton Sea Management Program’s Long-Range Plan document, released as a draft for public comment on December 15. The cost-share agreement brings together a diverse set of skills and experience from the three agencies and creates a framework for working collaboratively. Additionally, the agreement could potentially lead to significant additional investments for the long-term restoration of the Salton Sea.

The Draft Salton Sea Long-Range Plan was developed with support from Tribal leadership, community-based organizations, and local, state, and federal agencies. The draft long-range plan organizes public input into a framework that provides a foundation for the feasibility study and associated environmental review process.

“This study will help chart a path forward toward the long-term restoration of the Salton Sea,” said Wade Crowfoot, California Natural Resources Secretary. “It will identify projects to improve conditions at the Sea and opens the possibility of new federal funding to deliver these projects. We’re grateful to the Army Corps of Engineers and the Salton Sea Authority for their partnership and look forward to more community engagement to help inform this effort.”

“This is an opportunity to develop viable and innovative solutions, in collaboration with our partners, for the Salton Sea community and its surrounding area,” said Col. Julie Balten, commander of the Corps’ Los Angeles District. “We are excited to sign the agreement as it solidifies our commitment to this community and its people to gather information, define problems and opportunities, and potentially recommend federal restoration projects at the Salton Sea.”

“DWR and CNRA are excited about this opportunity to collaborate with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Salton Sea Authority, Tribal groups, and other partners on long-term solutions for the Salton Sea in ways that benefit ecosystems and local communities,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth.

The Salton Sea, California’s largest lake, is facing multiple challenges. With decreased inflow, the lake is shrinking and rising in salinity. As a result, thousands of acres of lakebed are being exposed and habitat has become greatly diminished. In recent years, water transfers have been the primary cause for reduced inflow. With historic drought in the seven states that are part of the Colorado River Basin and increasing demand on the Colorado River, which also feeds the Salton Sea, an acceleration of adverse conditions is expected in the future. Local, state, federal and Tribal agencies are committed to addressing the challenges in the near- and long-term future, in ways that benefit the environment, wildlife and local communities.

A resolution of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, 114th Congress, authorized the Secretary of the Army to investigate and recommend improvements for flood-risk management, ecosystem restoration and other water- and land-related resources, with a view toward restoration and protection of the environment, and improvements to public health and safety for the Salton Sea and its tributaries in Riverside, Imperial, and San Diego counties.

Pictures and video from the signing ceremony can be found here.

###

SSMP Project Spotlight – November 2022

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

Haga click aquí para leer este mensaje en español

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: https://ca.audubon.org/news/shorebirds-flock-salton-sea


SSMP Team

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 https://www.calcareers.ca.gov/CalHrPublic/Jobs/JobPosting.aspx?JobControlId=326086

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: https://www.jobs.ca.gov/CalHRPublic/Search/JobSearchResults.aspx#kw=Salton%20Sea%20Management

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: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85404503973

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: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81967335579

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: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81967335579

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: Cnra-saltonsea@resources.ca.gov.


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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.


The Salton Sea e-Newsletter Update is issued the second week of each month to deliver up-to-date information on the Salton Sea Management Program. For questions or comments, please contact: Cnra-saltonsea@resources.ca.gov.

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


California Natural Resources Agency
715 P Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

SSMP Project Spotlight North Lake Pilot Demonstration Project

October 2022 – Bringing you timely and concise updates on the Salton Sea Management Program

Haga click aquí para leer este mensaje en español

The Project will be located at the north end of the Salton Sea, in Riverside County near the unincorporated community of North Shore.

The Salton Sea Authority (SSA) and Riverside County are working to implement the North Lake Pilot Demonstration Project. When complete, the North Lake Pilot Demonstration Project will construct an approximately 156-acre lake to provide both shallow and deep-water habitat near the North Shore Beach & Yacht Club Community Center in North Shore. The lake is planned to restore and manage habitat for fish and birds, control dust, and provide recreational opportunities.

In April 2021, the project received a $19.25 million Proposition 68 grant from the California Department of Water Resources on behalf of the Salton Sea Management Program. Over the summer, Riverside County approved a two-year agreement with Dudek Consulting for design and engineering services for the Project.

The next community meeting for this project will be on Saturday, October 15 at 1:00 p.m. on Zoom. More information on this meeting can be found here below in the events section.

Riverside County has launched a Web page for the project, https://rivco.org/community/salton-sea-north-lake-pilot-demonstration-project, with more information on the conceptual plans and outreach meetings on the project.


SSMP Team

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 Evon Willhoff in the spotlight to share more about her important work, as part of the SSMP Team.

Willhoff is a Program Manager DWR, where she has worked for the past 10 years, including three years of that time with the Salton Sea Management Program.

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

Currently, my role is to work with Tribal and Federal governments, local agencies, non-profits, community-based organizations, and the public to plan and implement SSMP projects. Nearly my entire time with DWR, I’ve worked on projects based in the Coachella Valley region. Before working at DWR, I worked for over five years with the Planning and Conservation League in their Water Program to advocate for policies and legislation on behalf of the environment and marginalized communities.

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

I enjoy working with people…especially in the context of protecting an environmental resource or a unique place (Like the Salton Sea) for future generations. I like hearing what the community cares about and what concerns them. I enjoy bringing people and resources together to figure out how we can best reach collective goals and objectives.

  • What inspired you to seek a career in implementing and managing ecological restoration projects?

Honestly, I fell into this path, but what brought me here was a course I took in college on California water and policy, followed by an advanced field course that required hiking and backpacking out into watersheds and environmental restoration projects. These experiences allowed me to view other opportunities and changed the expectation of what my life could be. I had found something I wanted to spend my time doing. Shortly after graduating, I began working for an environmental non-profit on water. This work focused on protecting our coast, lakes, rivers, and streams, including safe and affordable drinking water. After working with this non-profit, I came to work for the state. I wanted to work within government to progress my same values, but in a different way.

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

My vision for the Sea includes improving the quality of life for adjacent communities and businesses while also preserving the habitat value and the uniqueness of the region. It’s going to be challenging, but I think many have similar goals, and we will have to be creative and innovative in how we can bring the vision to reality.

  • Thank you Evon!

The State is Recruiting Candidates for Four Positions to Join the SSMP Team

The Department of Water Resources is seeking applicants for a supervising engineer, two senior engineer positions, and a Budget Analyst with the Salton Sea Management Program.

The Supervising Engineer is responsible for directing staff and consultants within the Salton Sea Management Program forthe administration and inspection of construction work for the Department at the Salton Sea.  The Supervising Engineer will also be responsible for coordination with and oversight of Operations and Maintenance Activities by project partners as portions of the project construction are completed.

The final filing date is October 28, 2022. The job announcement may be found at https://www.calcareers.ca.gov/CalHrPublic/Jobs/JobPosting.aspx?JobControlId=326073

The Senior Contract Engineer performs field inspections and contract administration to ensure that construction contracts and other assigned facilities under the SSMP are completed on schedule and in accordance with plans and specifications.

The final filing date is October 28, 2022. The job announcement may be found at https://www.calcareers.ca.gov/CalHrPublic/Jobs/JobPosting.aspx?JobControlId=326130

The Senior Field Engineer performs engineering design, drafting, and field inspection to ensure that construction contracts managed by the Salton Sea Project Headquarters for the Department and other assigned facilities under the SSMP are completed on schedule and per specifications.

The final filing date is October 28, 2022. The job announcement may be found at https://www.calcareers.ca.gov/CalHrPublic/Jobs/JobPosting.aspx?JobControlId=326136

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 October 17, 2022. The job announcement may be found at https://www.calcareers.ca.gov/CalHrPublic/Jobs/JobPosting.aspx?JobControlId=326086

If you are a self-motivated, service-minded, and a hardworking professional interested in joining a dynamic team that is dedicated to helping the Salton Sea Program apply today!

Exams and Job opportunities to join the SSMP team are updated regularly on CalCareers.


Upcoming SSMP Engagement Opportunities and Salton Sea Events

Partner Event: Next Community Meeting on the North Lake Pilot Demonstration Project on October 15

On October 15, Riverside County and the Salton Sea Authority will hold a community meeting on the North Lake Pilot Demonstration Project from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. Participants will hear updates on the status of the project and will have an opportunity to share feedback and ask questions. The meeting will be held in person at Desert Mirage High School in Thermal, as well as virtually via Zoom. Spanish interpretation will be available. Habrá interpretación al español.

Click here to join meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86294358371?pwd=WmtLV0Y0cHNRTUlMSWdwZXpJMzUrUT09

Passcode: 20221015

Haga click aquí para acceder a la reunion en español

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85752742661?pwd=dVVDY2xBN3JWZGVlUis3cXlqTzNnQT09

Código: 20221015

Partner Event: Salton Sea Action Committee will host a Stakeholder meeting on October 21

The Salton Sea Action Committee invites members of the public to participate at their next Salton Sea Stakeholder meeting in person at the Fantasy Springs Casino Boardroom on October 21, at 9:00 am.

More information about this meeting can be found on their website: www.saltonseaactioncommittee.org.

SSMP Long-Range Plan Committee to Meet on November 2

The Long-Range Plan Committee will meet on Wednesday, November 2, at 9:30 a.m. for a virtual meeting on Zoom to discuss updates and receive feedback on the development of the Long-Range Plan. Spanish interpretation will be available. Habrá interpretación al español.

SSMP Long-Range Plan Committee Meeting

Wednesday, November 2 at 9:30 a.m.

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88165475219

Dial: +1 346 248 7799

Webinar ID: 88165475219

SSMP Community Engagement Committee to Meet on November 3

The SSMP Community Engagement Committee will meet on November 3 at 10:00 a.m. for a virtual meeting on Zoom. Spanish Interpretation will be available. Habrá interpretación en español.

SSMP Community Engagement Committee Meeting

Thursday, November 3 at 10:00 a.m.

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89562922825

Dial: +1 719 359 4580

Webinar ID:  895 6292 2825

SAVE THE DATE: SSMP Science Committee Meeting Tentatively set for November 16

The SSMP Science Committee is tentatively planned to meet on November 16 for a virtual meeting on Zoom. More details for this meeting are forthcoming.

SSMP Meetings materials and other documents will be uploaded to the SSMP website. For questions or comments, please contact: Cnra-saltonsea@resources.ca.gov.

Follow us on social!

https://twitter.com/CA_DWR

Join us Monday, 10/17 for the “Drought to Flood Symposium” – A panel discussion on how to build climate change resiliency in flood & water resources management & how to prepare for weather extremes. In-person & live stream option. Info on registration  https://water.ca.gov/News/Events/2022/Oct-2022/Drought-to-Flood-Symposium


The Salton Sea e-Newsletter Update is issued the second week of each month to deliver up-to-date information on the Salton Sea Management Program. For questions or comments, please contact: Cnra-saltonsea@resources.ca.gov.

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

California Natural Resources Agency
715 P Street
Sacramento, CA 95814