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Conservation Groups Demand Voice in Salton Sea Talks


Last updated 6/24/2017 at 8:33am

Audubon California has joined forces with Defenders of Wildlife and Sierra Club to ensure that public health, environmental issues, and economic well-being are being considered in key talks on the Salton Sea.

The conservation organizations requested that they be included in talks between the State of California and the Imperial Irrigation District in a letter formally demanding that the State Water Resources Control Board include the three groups in the high-level talks that will have a direct impact on how the shrinking Salton Sea is managed.

In March, IID submitted a petition to the State Water Resources Control Board requesting an evidentiary hearing regarding efforts to address the crisis. In order to avoid holding the hearing, the State and IID have engaged in discussions to address some of IID’s concerns.

These negotiations take place as the State, IID, and stakeholders like Audubon struggle to develop a plan and implement projects to mitigate the impacts of the 2003 Quantification Settlement Agreement (QSA), which sent hundreds of thousands of acre-feet of water that once flowed to the Salton Sea to water users in San Diego and other urban areas. To facilitate IID’s agreement to the water transfers, the State committed to perform large-scale restoration to provide habitat and control the toxic dust that presents a health hazard for nearby communities, which are necessary to protect the 400 species of birds and the 650,000 people that live nearby. Unfortunately, the State has yet to finalize a plan or build a single project to provide habitat or control dust.

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