Sen. Ruiz Urges Department of Interior to Include the Salton Sea in the Desert 

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salton sea walk

WASHINGTON, D.C.  — Dr. Raul Ruiz (D-Palm Desert) wrote Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewel asking that the Department of the Interior (DOI) move forward with the federal portion of the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) and ensure that lands at and underneath the Salton Sea are designated as a renewable energy Development Focus Area.

In the letter, Dr. Ruiz writes, “As the sea recedes, it poses dangerous threats to public health and the surrounding communities. Identifying areas around the sea as a Development Focus Area and committing funding to its restoration are necessary for the long-term public health and job growth potential of the area.”

Dr. Ruiz goes on to write,“The effort and collaboration to draft the DRECP has been significant, and we look forward to working with you to build on progress made, improve, and finalize this important plan which will shape the future of the desert for generations to come.”

The DRECP is a plan to conserve and manage plant and wildlife communities in the desert regions of California while facilitating the timely permitting of compatible renewable energy projects. The DRECP is a collaborative effort being developed under the California Natural Community Conservation Planning Act (NCCPA) and the Federal Endangered Species Act (FESA), and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA).

On March 10, 2015, the Bureau of Land Management announced a three-phased implementation of the DRECP: the BLM Land Use Plan Amendment (LUPA); federal General Conservation Plan; and the state Natural Community Conservation Plan.  BLM’s LUPA will proceed first, designating areas of public land for both renewable energy development and conservation.