California– The Salton Sea continues to shrink, but while the waters recede the problems continue to flood in. The previously submerged lake bed (referred to as “playa”) is creating dust that can be hazardous when it becomes airborne. Officials have created a 10-year plan to address air quality and environmental threats from the Salton Sea. The plan was initially funded by the approval of Proposition 1 in 2014 and an additional voter approved $200 million dollars this past June. Phase one of the plan focuses on creating wetlands and other projects to suppress the dust and create new habitats.
An agreement reached by the California Water Resources Control Board last November painted a shared vision among the state, water agencies and environmental organizations for projects and activities over the next 10 years. The California Department of Water Resources is refining its organizational structure to put new resources and expertise in place to centralize and accelerate the design and implementation of critical dust-suppression and habitat projects. A request for qualifications will be issued before the end of 2018 for a project to create deep habitat on the sea’s southern end to support fish and wildlife.