Representatives Raul Ruiz and Juan Vargas, alongside senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris sent a letter to the United States Secretary of Agriculture to support the Species Conservation Habitat Project at the Salton Sea. The letter was written to secretary Perdue urging the Federal Government to address the problems of the Salton Sea. The letter is below.
In a statement, Representative Ruiz said, “I am fighting to bring federal dollars to the Salton Sea because a strong federal-state partnership is necessary for success and I will never stop until we prevent the impending public health crisis at the Salton Sea.”
The salinity of the Salton Sea is already about twice the amount of the Pacific Ocean. Chris Schoneman, refuge manager at the Sonny Bono Salton Sea Wildlife Refuge says, “with high rates of evaporation with the summer months, approximately 6 ft. of evaporation of water comes off the Salton Sea that eventually concentrates that added salt every year.” This reason is why many are worried birds will be left without habitat as the sea recedes and salinity increases. Schoneman also adds, “Birds are able to forage within the ocean it’s going to reach a challenging point here at the Salton Sea for birds to adjust to such high salinity and take in that salt and metabolize it while they are foraging and taking in food items.”
California’s species conservation habitat project will create habitat ponds that provide places for migrating birds to find food, nest, and rest. Schoneman adds, “Water from the sea would be pumped into these large ponds and blended with agricultural drainage water which is essentially fresh. So you could start adjusting the salinity and managing the water to make it much better for wildlife and people that want to access the Salton Sea.”
The project also helping agricultural land by suppressing dust, providing moisture, and maintaining the micro-climate. It will serve as the initial habitat project for the California natural resources agency’s Salton Sea management program that plans to construct 14,900 acres of habitat projects at the Salton Sea by 2029.