1/4/16 – Imperial delegation to address State Water Board regarding Salton Sea

IID/Imperial County, Joint Press Release, 1-4-16

A delegation of members of the Imperial Irrigation District Board of Directors and the Imperial County Board of Supervisors will appear before the State Water Resources Control Board in Sacramento at a public workshop during the board’s regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 5, where the water board will receive updates regarding the status of actions identified by the Salton Sea Task Force.

IID General Manager Kevin Kelley and Imperial County Chief Executive Officer Ralph Cordova Jr. will present at the workshop, providing an update on the IID/Imperial County Salton Sea Restoration and Renewable Energy Initiative, as well as seek information from the Salton Sea Task Force about what its next steps and plans are.

In a joint letter to the Water Resources Control Board, IID and the county recognize that successfully addressing the challenges at the Salton Sea will not be completed in 2016 and, therefore, suggest that the protection of public health and the environment in Imperial and Riverside counties “should be a long-term commitment by the state of California, working with our agencies and other regional partners.”

The immediate task for 2016, the Imperial delegation suggests, is to develop a long-term plan and transparent partnership.

“IID and the county of Imperial propose that the State Water Board require the four agencies that have been invited to present at the Jan. 5, 2016, workshop to collaborate – in an open and transparent process – with key stakeholders to develop and present a long-term management and restoration plan for the Salton Sea to the board and the California Air Resources Board no later than Dec. 15, 2016,” the letter states.

To review the full letter, visit: http://www.iid.com/Home/ShowDocument?id=11449

IID General Manager Kevin Kelley said he is pleased the State Water Board has decided to hold this follow-up workshop and is encouraged by the water board’s continued involvement. “We’re looking forward to providing an update on action’s related to the Salton Sea Restoration and Renewable Energy Initiative and, from IID’s standpoint, find out what has been done and where we can see more state involvement related to overall restoration.”

The Imperial delegation further encourages the State Water Board to remain involved as it should play a key role in ensuring milestones and real progress are achieved.

Imperial County Chief Executive Officer Ralph Cordova Jr. said that, while good steps have been taken, there are things the delegation intends to “bring to light.” The joint presentation “will put a strong emphasis on the consequences if the state doesn’t step up their efforts to fulfill its promise of restoring the sea,” Cordova said. “We will touch on the expectations of what the sea would look like if the playa continues to recede.”  The board “will be able to learn about the potential negative impacts to the area if no action is taken to restore the Salton Sea.”

Tuesday’s Salton Sea workshop by the State Water Board is the first since last March.

In addition to hearing from the Imperial delegation, the State Water Board expects updates from the following agencies:

  • California Natural Resources Agency regarding efforts to improve public outreach and local partnerships and implement habitat creation and dust suppression projects;
  • Colorado River Regional Water Quality Control Board regarding efforts to improve water quality in major tributaries to the Salton Sea;
  • California Air Resources Control Board regarding efforts to address air quality impacts from the Salton Sea; and,
  • California Energy Commission regarding consideration of renewable energy opportunities at and around the Salton Sea and the region.

A broadcast of the meeting will be available at: http://www.calepa.ca.gov/broadcast/.