Salton Sea Authority CEO Roger Shintaku reported Owens Lake trip findings to BOS


salton sea drought


Salton Sea Authority
Roger Shintaku, Director of Salton Sea Authority

EL CENTRO – Roger Shintaku, Executive Director of the Salton Sea Authority, spoke to the Board of Supervisors Tuesday about his recent trip to Owens Lake, which dried up after losing its water source, the Owens River, to Los Angeles.


Shintaku specifically went to see their mitigation measures to control the occurring dust storms at the dry bed lake, hoping to bring back to the Salton Sea similar plans before its rapidly drying shore land causes similar results.


One such dust control was covering acres with large gravel, 3.5 inch rock up to 6 inches deep.


Another method was large, deep furrows. Shintaku said, “The furrows are very deep, 6 feet deep, and they cover a large area of the playa.”


Supervisor Michael Kelley (Dist.3) asked, “Doesn’t the tractor work of making the furrows disturb the playa?”


Shintaku replied in the negative.


Dust storm at the Owens Lake Dry Bed
Dust storm at the Owens Lake Dry Bed

The third method involved planting salt grass, a herb that can tolerate arid, salty conditions. The roots keep the playa in place and stop dust from arising and blowing into neighboring areas.


Unfortunately, Shintaku said the playa surrounding the Salton Sea is too soft and tractors would be bogged down trying to plant the hardy grass.


Changing directions, Shintaku praised the US Congress for passing long term funding through the Corp of Engineers.


Every dollar the Salton Sea raises for mitigation, $2 dollars will be granted from the Corps.


According to Shintaku, the feasibility funding plan calls for hundreds of millions of dollars before the sea would be saved.