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Voice: Stabilizing salinity won't stop bird die-offs

August 04, 2001

Sadly, your editorial in Thursday's paper perpetuates the myth that stabilizing the Salton Sea's salinity will somehow reduce the number of birds infected and dying of diseases like avian botulism.

If the federal and state governments spend half a billion dollars or more to stabilize salinity at roughly current levels, we will see roughly the same number of birds dying.

There are two different (though related) issues at play: one is the current situation, where birds are already dying in large numbers and have been for some time; the second is the very real threat of future increases in salinity, which would substantially (though not completely) change the sea's biota.

Evaporation ponds are designed to address the second issue, not the first.

MICHAEL COHEN

Senior associate Pacific

Institute for Studies in

Development, Environment,

and Security

Oakland

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