It’s the most predictable environmental disaster in California’s history.
The Salton Sea is already slowly dying, its constant evaporation shrinking its size and making its water increasingly salty.
The sea is expected to shrink significantly by 2018, when water transfers will reduce agricultural runoff, its primary source of water. Fish and bird habitats would be severely affected, and more exposed dry lake bed could create walls of dust blowing for miles throughout the Coachella and Imperial valleys, impacting multi- billion-dollar agricultural and tourism industries.
An $8.9 billion preferred alternative for sea restoration was chosen by state Resources Secretary Mike Chrisman and submitted to the Legislature in 2007.
It would have created miles of barriers to make the sea one-fifth of its current size, as well as creating shallow saline and marsh habitats. The state’s plan called for almost $900 million to construct small pools, sprinklers and other air quality management tools, plus another $99 million a year to operate them.