Daniel M. Edwards

The recently signed Memorandum of Understanding between the U.S. Department of the Interior and California’s Natural Resources Agency, “Regarding the Coordination of Activities to Manage the Salton Sea,” offers $30 million in federal funding to support state activities and will provide closer coordination and federal expertise to meeting California’s commitment to achieving the critical goal of constructing and operating, according to the MOU, “25,000 acres of wildlife habitat, air and water quality projects, and other projects as necessary to minimize human health and ecosystem impacts at the Sea in the mid-term (through 2025).”

“While we now have a Memorandum of Understanding, there is still no understanding as to how California will achieve its goal of 25,000 acres of habitat and dust control projects at the Salton Sea in time to avert a regional public health and ecological catastrophe,” said Salton Sea expert and Pacific Institute Senior Research Associate Michael Cohen.

Plans, commitments, and obligations have not been fruitful in the past. In 2018, inflows to the Salton Sea will decline by more than 150,000 acre-feet – more than 13% – relative to 2017, exposing more than 25,000 acres of lakebed in one year. This is comparable to the total amount of dust-emitting lakebed at Owens Lake. California and the federal government must act now to avert a major catastrophe. Time is fast running out.

For information about the Salton Sea and the Pacific Institute’s many years of work on the topic, click here.

Read the Pacific Institute joint press release on the federal government’s commitment to support Salton Sea conservation efforts here. Read the White House fact sheet on the issue here.

Read the Pacific Institute’s 2014 report Hazard’s Toll: The Costs of Inaction at the Salton Sea here.