SAN DIEGO — Senate Bill 615, the Salton Sea Restoration Act, was signed into law last night by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., according to a press release from the office of California Senator Ben Hueso. The law will create efficiencies for construction facilities to separate fresh water from highly saline water for the purposes of implementing restoration activities. It also recognizes the role of the State Water Resources Control Board in the restoration of the Salton Sea.
The Salton Sea is California’s largest inland water body with beneficial uses that include fisheries and wildlife habitat, and preservation of endangered species. Moreover, the Salton Sea ecosystem is a critical link on the international Pacific Flyway and supports more than 400 species of birds. Unfortunately, the Salton Sea is threatened by increasing salinity and reduced flows. These changes increasingly threaten the unparalleled wildlife resources at the sea, as well as air quality in the region.
Reports state that the exposed playas, for instance, have resulted in a spike in asthma rates at a detriment to the health of children. A recent study placed the number of children with asthma in Imperial County alone at 12,000.
“Those most impacted by the detriments of the Sea are our most innocent, and many of the impacted families are facing significant hurdles, including high rates of unemployment”, said Senator Hueso. “These families cannot afford to continue waiting while the health of their children worsens day by day. I thank the Governor for signing this legislation to facilitate further restoration efforts for the Salton Sea.”
The problems of the Salton Sea are not just a local issue for those in the surrounding areas. Dust stirred up by playa exposure travels as far as the coast of Malibu and Santa Monica, making it a statewide issue of concern.