California gets $70 million for Salton Sea restoration project


California Construction News staff writer

The federal government has awarded $70 million for ongoing work to restore the Salton Sea, the first funding announcement from a $250 million federal program announced last year. California has committed more than $500 million in state funding for Salton Sea projects to date.

California’s largest inland water body, the Salton Sea has shrunk in recent years due to reduced inflows. The reduced water levels and increased salinity also negatively impact habitat for wildlife, including birds travelling the Pacific flyway.

“This major investment continues momentum for the critical work underway to stabilize and restore the Salton Sea for the benefit of Imperial and Coachella Valley communities and wildlife that rely on the Sea,” said Governor Gavin Newsom. “Working closely with our federal, tribal, state and local partners, California will continue to make progress on our ecological, health and economic goals in this key region.”

The $70 million will be used to expand the state’s Species Conservation Habitat Project, which is creating a network of ponds and wetlands over 4,000 acres to provide fish and bird habitat and suppress dust emissions. This federal funding will enable the expansion of the project at the southern edge of the sea.

An additional $2 million in federal funding was announced for the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians to expand the Tribe’s technical capacity by funding positions entrusted with supporting Salton Sea project implementation.

California Natural Resources Agency leaders joined officials from the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians and other members of the Salton Sea Coordinating Committee in Imperial County last week to celebrate the funding.

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