Sacramento, California - State Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) this week requested the involvement of the State Water Resources Control Board in the restoration of the Salton Sea. His letter also praised the State water agency for its previous work on water issues, and further explained the severity of the potential ecological consequences and economic impacts to the region if the Sea is not restored.
“The future of the Salton Sea is in our hands. Further delay on the issue puts our area at risk for serious economic, environmental, and public health consequences. What we need now is all hands on deck,” stated Assemblyman Garcia.
The Sea attracts thousands of visitors annually and is very important to the area economically. The Sea is also California’s largest lake and one of its most significant ecological resources. It supports a diverse wildlife habitat for over 400 species of birds and serves as a critical link on the 5,000 mile international Pacific Flyway.
“Unfortunately, the Sea is deteriorating rapidly and faces a bleak future if no immediate action is taken. Mitigation water currently delivered to the Sea under the Quantification Settlement Agreement will stop flowing in 2017,” Assemblyman Garcia said. “I am confident that with the collaboration of the SWRCB, we will make some real progress in tackling the restoration of the Salton Sea,” he added.
The full letter attached explains that “Inevitably, this [lack of restoration] will result in the exposure of thousands of acres of dry lakebed as the Sea dries up. Windblown dust emissions from as much as 100,000 acres of exposed lakebed will dramatically worsen the already-poor air quality in Southern California. The incidence of asthma, heart and lung disease and even premature death among the working-class population of affected areas can be expected to increase exponentially in the years ahead. This imperils the region’s largely agricultural economy, which accounts for nearly 50 percent of all local employment, not to mention the viability of the area’s multi-billion dollar recreation and tourism industries.”