Roger Shintaku, a civil engineer and technical director at Elan Associates in Corona, will begin work in January, the authority’s board has decided.
The authority was set up to manage the restoration of the Salton Sea as a recreational destination and a center for green energy. The state legislature also wants the water level and quality stabilized to protect regional air quality by minimizing dust.
“Everything is interconnected there: the aquatic ecosystem, the health of the water, air quality and tourism,” Shintaku said.
Shintaku comes to the job after leading a similar effort with the Lake Elsinore Management Project to reduce water loss from evaporation, improve water quality and enhance fish and wildlife habitats, according to officials with the Salton Sea Authority.
“Roger will bring a wealth of experience and ingenuity to the post,” said Marion Ashley, the Authority’s president and Riverside County’s Fifth District supervisor. “He is just the sort of leader needed to bring the goals of the Salton Sea Authority to fruition.”
Shintaku said he grew up fishing and boating on the Salton Sea.
“I know what it can be. I know what recreation means in terms of the economy for the area,” he said. “And I want future generations to have the same opportunities that I had enjoying the Sea all my life.”
The Salton Sea, southeast of Indio, is a salty inland lake that is below sea level, and has no outlet. It was created 100 years ago when an investment company’s canal to the Colorado River went out of control during floods, inundating what had been a dry lake.
The Salton Sea made headlines across the country this past summer after a smelly odor that lingered over Southern California was traced to the large body of water.