In addition to planning and implementing the Species Conservation Habitat (SCH) project and interim dust suppression projects, the state team, along with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District, initiated 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 team also contracted with the University of California, Santa Cruz, to facilitate an Independent Review Panel to perform a feasibility assessment of water importation concepts to help inform long-range planning beyond Phase I.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District (Corps) released a Public Notice March 22, 2021, 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 Corps website.
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 in 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. Comments received during the State’s public review, along with the current updated draft project description can be found below as well as earlier documents.
The Corps anticipates releasing its draft NEPA document for public review and comment this summer.
A series of three virtual workshops were held in September 2020 to solicit community input on the draft Project Description goals and objectives as well as the sizes, locations, and types of projects being proposed and anticipated impacts. The state also solicited feedback about how the public would like to access the Sea and what compatible community amenities should be prioritized. In addition to the public workshops, written comments on the Project Description were accepted through September 30, 2020.
All comments received, either verbally or written, have been compiled into a document below. The input acquired will help inform the development of a range of alternatives for approximately 30,000 acres of projects that will be part of the document.
- Preguntas para recibir comentarios públicos sobre el borrador de la descripción del proyecto del SSMP, fase I: Plan de 10 Años
- Public Workshop Flyer – Projects are coming to the Salton Sea!
- Public Workshop Flyer – Próximos proyectos en el Salton Sea
- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Community Input Sought for Habitat Restoration and Dust Suppression Projects at Salton Sea
- PARA SU PUBLICACIÓN INMEDIATA – Se solicita la contribución de la comunidad para los Proyectos de Restauración del Hábitat y de Supresión del Polvo en el Salton Sea
- NOTICE OF PUBLIC WORKSHOP – SALTON SEA MANAGEMENT PROGRAM
- AVISO DE TALLER PÚBLICO – SALTON SEA MANAGEMENT PROGRAM
While the state team implements the Salton Sea Management Program – Phase I: 10-Year Plan, it is simultaneously developing a path forward for long-term restoration and management of the Salton Sea. The state team has contracted with the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), to facilitate an Independent Review Panel to conduct a feasibility assessment to evaluate water importation as a long-term strategy.
The Independent Review Panel has invited submissions for new concepts for water importation in addition to those submitted in 2018, as well as updates to the 11 concepts submitted in 2018.
The Panel is tasked with studying submissions to determine whether water importation to the Salton Sea is feasible as part of a long-range plan for the Sea. New water importation concepts and updates are due October 12, 2021. A public meeting is planned in November where there will be opportunity to ask questions or give comments about the review process to the Panel.