Shrinking Shorelines and the Salton Sea

A symposium on community impacts, recent research, and possible solutions

On May 11th, 2018, a symposium will be held at UC Riverside’s Palm Desert campus, which aims to explore community impacts, recent research, and possible solutions for the Salton Sea. Policy makers, scientists, stakeholders, and community members will come together to discuss the latest policy solutions surrounding the Salton Sea, the potential impacts and benefits surrounding the draft ten-year plan on both Riverside and Imperial County communities, recent research considering alternative water sources to maintain Salton Sea inflows and our understanding of the air quality effects, and, discussions surrounding social justice and actions.

Updated:
Click here to the full summary of the symposium, view pictures, and download presentations.

Year in Review

This week, Salton Sea Sense is celebrating its one-year anniversary of blogging about the ecological, environmental, and cultural value of the Salton Sea. We have had the opportunity to explore and enjoy the Sea, meet passionate community members and informative stakeholders, and engage in a wide range of science and policy-making conversations on the future of the Sea. Plus, we have had a lot of fun doing it.

Here are the most popular Salton Sea Sense blog posts for the past year: Continue reading “Year in Review”

The Other Changing Sea Level

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In his final State of the Union address, President Obama put more emphasis on climate change than ever before [1]. Scientists no longer dispute the fact that humans are having an impact on the earth, and global leaders have come to an agreement that involves taking actions to fight climate change and mitigate its negative effects [2].

The impacts of climate change are already visible around the world, from extreme storms and fluctuating temperatures, to long droughts and threatened Continue reading “The Other Changing Sea Level”

Salton Sea: May the (Task) Force be with you

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The Salton Sea Task Force convened in Sacramento on Tuesday to assess the progress of the Salton Sea Management Program (SSMP), which has declared specific goals for habitat and shoreline restoration. The task force was led by the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB), and heard from four agencies with updates: the CA Natural Resources Agency, the Colorado River Regional Water Quality Control Board, the CA Air Resources Board, and the CA Energy Commission. All gave presentations ranging from fresh perspectives on older, well-known data, to hot off the press developments within their agencies. Continue reading “Salton Sea: May the (Task) Force be with you”

New Year’s Resolutions for the Salton Sea

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Since the 1980s, several studies have been conducted and many options have been evaluated to address the impending environmental challenges posed by the Salton Sea’s current conditions. Unfortunately, minimal changes have been implemented to improve the harsh conditions that are ever worsening for the local communities and ecosystems. Here at Salton Sea Sense, we are hopeful that 2016 will be the year that the Salton Sea finally gets the attention it needs to provide remediation for the exposed playa and secure a bright future. Continue reading “New Year’s Resolutions for the Salton Sea”

Join us for the Christmas Bird Count!

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Every winter, local chapters of the National Audubon Society host Christmas Bird Counts all over the Americas. These counts attract tens of thousands of volunteers who participate in observing and collecting data to help assess the health of bird populations and ultimately guide conservation action. Continue reading “Join us for the Christmas Bird Count!”

Eggscellent Opportunities

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An example of the ebird.org interface for entering your birdwatching data.
An example of the ebird.org interface for entering your birdwatching data.

My previous posts have highlighted some of the problems faced by the birds of the Salton Sea. While their struggles are many, and their future seems dim without a coordinated restoration plan, there are ways for the average citizen to help.

The first way is to contact your representatives and let them know that you care about this issue! The dangers to the avian community are symptoms of the larger problems that the Sea is facing. These can only be addressed from political action, which will only happen if the representatives know that their constituency cares.

Continue reading “Eggscellent Opportunities”

Skip the Steak & Save the Sea

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Here at Salton Sea Sense we have tried to show that despite all the problems facing the Sea, there is hope. Hope that the Sea can thrive for generations to come, providing habitat for wildlife, continued environmental stability, and potentially increased economic opportunities. But, between the growing California population, the demands of agriculture, the historic drought and the needs of the Sea our water resources are being stretched to the breaking point. In order to meet these demands Californian’s have worked hard to find places to cut water use. This idea has spurred many ideas and catchy slogans, such as don’t wash your car and “go dirty for the drought” or let your lawn go “California Golden.” But by far the largest use of water in California is not our lawns or even our almonds; it is our meat and dairy production. Therefore, the best solution to our water scarcity problem is not found in our backyards, but at the end of our forks.

sss1
Table 1. Obtained from http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/0…

Meat and dairy production in California consumes 47% of our total water use, where as household water use only accounts for 4% and yes that includes those lawns[i]. The main perpetrator of this water use is one of the feed crops used for cattle: alfalfa, which also happens to be the primary crop grown in the Imperial Valley. Alfalfa uses over 5000 acre feet/year of water, nearly twice as much as the next crop, rice (table 2).* The last United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) report from the International Panel for Sustainable Resource Management emphasized Continue reading “Skip the Steak & Save the Sea”

What YOU Can Do!

The Salton Sea’s problems are so large that a single person’s desire to help can seem insignificant. But if you believe the Salton Sea needs help, and you want to see action taken quickly, you can do something about it! Your elected representatives are waiting to hear from you on any and all issues concerning their constituents. Their job is to represent the wishes of the residents that live in their districts. So let them know you care about the Salton Sea, and you want it to be a high priority! Start local, with your Assemblymembers and State Senators, progressing on to US Congress Members, and US Senators, and even Governor Brown.

Do you live outside of Southern California, but still care about the Sea? You can write to Governor Jerry Brown, or US Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, and let them know that the Salton Sea is such a California treasure that non-locals or even non-residents want to see it made a high priority!
Continue reading “What YOU Can Do!”

Myths and Mistruths, Vol. 2

Welcome back for some more myth debunking! Last time we talked about the unlikely possibility of a ship full of pearls being sunk at the bottom of the Salton Sea. But I also mentioned several other prevalent myths or mistruths that other posts on this blog have now addressed:

“The Salton Sea is not safe to swim in.” ——————————————– BUSTED!

“It is a toxic dump created by agricultural pesticides.” ——————— BUSTED!

Geothermal energy is expensive and not competitive.” ——————- BUSTED!

“The Salton Sea is a marginal ecological and economical resource.” – BUSTED!

Perhaps one of the most tossed-around misunderstandings surrounding the Sea is this:

“The Salton Sink would be dry right now were it not for the accident in 1905. Therefore, we should just let the Sea dry up.”

While this argument is convenient for those who consider the Sea a lost cause, it is all bark and no bite. Continue reading “Myths and Mistruths, Vol. 2”