Imperial Valley, California - This holiday season, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife suggests giving the gift of restoration by pre-ordering a Salton Sea specialty license plate. Funds raised from the sale of the plates help to restore the Salton Sea’s air quality, wildlife habitat and precious water.  If 7,500 people have sent in their reservation form and paid the corresponding fee, the plates will go into production.

Located in Imperial County, the Salton Sea is one of the world’s largest inland seas, and at 227 feet below sea level, it is one of the lowest spots on earth. The sea was created in 1905 when high flows from the Colorado River broke through a canal and flooded a vast dry basin in the Sonoran Desert. For several decades the newly formed sea, which stretched 45 miles long and 20 miles wide, became a haven for tourists, anglers and birdwatchers, but in recent years water levels have declined and salinity has increased, making this once-thriving recreation area less appealing to visitors.

Due to its location along the most important flyway in North America, the Salton Sea still provides critical habitat for more than 400 species of resident and migrating birds. It also sustains an abundant population of tilapia, which are critical for the many fish-eating birds such as pelicans and cormorants.

Funds raised from the specialty plates will support the Salton Sea Ecosystem Restoration Program, a coordinated effort among various federal, state and local agencies, stakeholders and the general public. To view current and proposed restoration projects, please visit

To pre-order your Salton Sea specialty license plate, please visit and be one of the first to Save the Sea!