SACRAMENTO – Governor Brown has marked $80 million towards the restoration of the Salton Sea, less than what local officials asked for, but surpassing past years’ budget allocations.
Funds for the restoration derive from the $7.5 billion water bond approved in 2014 by voters, through Proposition 1
Local agencies have several plans shovel-ready to mitigate the impending environmental disasters a shrinking sea will incur.
This past fall, the local agencies, plus state and federal agencies broke ground by the Red Marina for shallow freshwater ponds meant to house migrating birds and cover the polluted chemicals entrapped in the playa. This budget will ensure this project and the other projects ready to go will have starter funds.
“I am pleased to see that $80 million has been designated to Salton Sea Restoration,” said Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia. “This money is a good first start and will fund the initial short-term projects designed for dust suppression and expanding habitat. Going forward, we will work closely with Gov. Brown to identify funding for the medium and long-term projects that further address the ongoing public health and ecological issues facing the Sea.” Assemblyman Edwardo Garcia said of Brown’s budget dedicated to the Salton Sea.
The earlier prognostics calling for $9 billion to fix the Salton Sea were quickly dismissed in the previous congress, however, smaller, more affordable plans have since been proposed. One of the long-term plans is to allow the sea to shrink and then to ring the playa with estuaries from water from the Alamo and the Colorado. The bird and fish ponds will range from the very shallow of several inches to deeper ponds of several feet. The ponds will have varying degrees of the salt water and the infusion of fresh water, satisfying the needs of the varied organisms that depend on the sea for habitat, migration stops, and feeding.
Bruce Wilcox who recently left his post at the IID for the State as the assistant secretary for Salton Sea policy, said he was pleased to find the state set and ready to begin projects, and the years of “studies only” were ending.