Voice: Isn't it past time for major decisions on the Salton Sea?

January 15, 2002

When the Salton Sea Authority was formed I hoped and prayed it would be the savior of the sea; when I read their newsletter, Sea Notes, of December 2002, 1 realized little has changed that is going to help the sea.

Salton Sea authority's president, Roy Wilson, states, "We have come to a point where major decisions will be made soon about the future of the sea!"

Those major decisions should have been made a long time ago. Forty years later we are still saying major decisions will be made soon. Is soon a new day in the future of the sea? Is that like one day, someday or maybe?

I believe Shakespeare may have used the best phrase in regard to the major decision for the Salton Sea … "To be or not to be? That is the question."


If Duncan Hunter's bill HR2764 is passed that will be the end of the Salton Sea. Even if rewritten it still means the end of the Salton Sea. It will reduce the level of the Salton Sea by 15 feet exposing about 40,000 acres of dry lake bottom sediments, or 65 square miles.

Life as we know it would cease to exist. The environmental damage could not be mitigated. Now is the time for all good citizens to come to the aid of the Salton Sea. Imperial County officials, Imperial Irrigation District, Coachella Valley Water District, farmers, Riverside County officials, fishermen, birders, Sierra Club members, anyone who loves the desert, get involved in this matter. It just does not concern the people who live by the sea. It will affect everyone.

As a businesswoman I have been working to get my project finished; however, there were so many studies required by Imperial County and other government agencies and the costs were great that my project has been delayed to raise more money to complete it as planned. It will be beautiful and greatly improve the economy of the area.

But if this bill passes it makes the endangered species act meaningless. In other words, this bill would allow the legal killing off of endangered species, so the big guys don't have to go through what I had to go through or what everyone else has to go through when they plan a major project.

All the big guys have to do is kill them off, no mitigation, nothing. Just rape the Salton Sea and surrounding areas and get away with it. Don't you just love it? The little guys always pay and the big guys don't.

Why do they want to do this? Could it be greed? Water that we so desperately need now goes to San Diego. Must be a lot of money involved, right?

The Salton Sea is beautiful. Over 2 million people visit the Salton Sea yearly. The Salton Sea supports up to 428 species of birds. It is one of four places where over half of North America's species of birds exists. Three to 4 million individual birds can be counted during winter migration. It is one of the most productive fisheries in the world. All of that will be gone.

The water transferred to San Diego is expected to sell for about $250 an acre-foot. Water is a resource that needs to be managed wisely to meet the needs of humans as well as wildlife. My question is, why isn't IID along with the farmers fighting to keep the water in Imperial County and let the runoff feed the sea?

A government report estimates the recreational value of the sea results in benefits to the local economy at $8.1 million annually. If the sea were to collapse, that amount drops to about $2 million, while a revitalized sea would bring in about $15.5 million annually.

What if major hotels and businesses were built on the Salton Sea, what would that do to help the economy of Imperial County and Riverside County? How about a university?

The desert would bloom and boom and the Salton Sea would still be the gem in the desert!


Desert Shores

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