Salton Sea Project looking for community’s help

SALTON SEA

SALTON SEA, Calif. – Officials are hoping to tap into the creative minds of Imperial County residents for help solve the on-going Salton Sea controversy.

The Imperial County Board of Supervisors has published the guidelines for potential projects that could help keep dust down at the Salton Sea.The guidelines were published on the county’s website.

“We do not believe the answers are in somebody’s office or on a computer, it’s with the people that are working the land or that have knowledge of the spaces that are going to be addressed,” said County Supervisor of District 4, Ryan Kelley, who explained what they are looking for, “That’s why we want to incorporate our landowners and those that have ideas to be able to try these projects and see how they work, and if they’re successful, to apply it over a greater amount of area,” explains Kelley.

People interested in taking part are being asked to submit a statement of interest to the county no longer than three pages, by August 31st. The statement will be shared with different government agencies for review and possibly to obtain funding.

Areas around the Salton Sea are usually not very crowded, but our team ran into a couple of birdwatchers while out in the Salton Sea area.

“We’re looking for a yellow footed gull, and we found one way back over there but we had been warned, we had been told that the water had gone down, and I assume the lake just goes up and down since it is sort of a man-made lake from agricultural run-off,” said Ollie Oliver, an avid bird watcher.

The agricultural run-off that currently ends up at the sea will end on December 31st 2017, which will lead to more dust as the sea begins to dry up according to Kelley. Officials say the dust from the exposed playa is harmful for the health and environment of residents.

“I live within a mile of the Salton Sea in the south end, so I watched it grow and recede over the years. Right now it’s about 15,000 acres of exposed playa and that is going to increase tremendously in the next 20 years,” explained local farmer, Al Kalin.

National Wildlife Refuge Manager, Chris Schoneman, was also at Salton Sea during the time and shared his input.

“If it keeps down dust, it’s benefiting the crops from getting salty dust on the crops. People might otherwise be breathing that air in, and the wildlife, we can forget about the wildlife, they would also be breathing that dust in and it’s not good for them either,” said Schoneman.

For more information on the dust suppression project and examples of past dust control measures, visit www.co.imperial.ca.us.

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