IID Meeting, Updates and Concerns
Last updated 6/21/2019 at 1:43pm
The Board of Directors at the June 4 Imperial Irrigation District meeting were briefed on the 2019 Salton Sea Air Quality Mitigation Program.
However, many Imperial Valley residents shared their concers, citing that not enough is being done and time is running out, even with over 40 million dollars already invested in saving the Salton Sea.
“Great frustration and more than a little anger that these projects aren’t moving forward at the fast pace that they should be,” Brawley resident Eric Reyes said. “It’s an issue that is not going away,” adding money should have been earmarked for mitigation issues at the sea.
By 2028, 68,000 acres of playa are estimated to be exposed.
The IID has implemented 1,400 acres of dust mitigation projects in both Imperial and Coachella counties, and construction is currently underway to implement an additional 600 acres of proactive dust control projects.
“As part of this plan we have also identified an additional 22,800 acres of playa for future dust (mitigation),” Jessica Humes, IID Environmental Projects Manager, said.
The IID will also install three cameras around the Salton Sea.
Matt Dessert, Imperial County Air Pollution Control District, said, “It’s time to get some projects on the ground for us all to see and to get the benefits from.”
They said money goes in and no results come out.
“There’s a lot of projects out there on paper. We need to have projects delivered. It’s time now,” Dessert said.
Several agencies receive state and federal funds for the restoration.
“All of the agencies who are working right now are working independently, but also together,” Humes said.
She admits that collaboration between agencies working on the restoration project is an issue.
“There have been some communication issues at the beginning of some of these projects, but we’ve been working towards better collaboration, better communication,” Humes said.
She added U.S. Fish and Wildlife is looking for a grant or some sort of funding from the Bureau of Land Management to complete the project.
IID also wants to see more action, as well. They have a new brochure to inform the public of what is actually being done or in the works. The brochure is available at the IID’s website.
“It covers our proactive dust control project, as well as many of the other aspects that we’re doing, the monitoring implementation, and planning and design as well,” Humes said.
Residents said the threat of toxic dust coming from exposed playa is a ticking time bomb.
“We’re facing a potentially environmental disaster that could impact the quality of life here in Imperial Valley,” Reyes said.