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Voice: Don't believe the SDCWA hype

April 21, 2002

Again we have to read and hear the trash and misinformation that a waiting and wanting San Diego County Water Authority puts into this newspaper. The $50 million to distribute among Imperial County is a measly amount and is far from paying for the death of a future Salton Sea disaster.

They make it look like this is big money and a reward for killing the Salton Sea.

If you allow them to kill the Salton Sea, you kill all the hope this county, my county, ever had to expand our economy from the poorest to the richest county of all of California's 58.

Recreation days, as they are called by the California Department of Fish and Game, are a way to determine what state parks, among other entities, use to find out how much money each recreation site or state park bring into local economies.

The Salton Sea until 1986 brought in tremendous amounts of money into both Riverside and Imperial counties. State park Salton Sea sector remembers 555,000 users each year. It outdrew Yosemite National Park. This amount of visitors grew to 1 million when that included the rest of the sea. The rec days then only paid around $32 per day per person. This was a tremendous amount of money to both Riverside and Imperial counties and even to the whole state

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Rec days, at this time, check with the California Department of Fish & Game, are near $100/day/per person. This is a vast amount of money for all.

In 1988, CIC Research, at the expense of CDF&G, did an economic survey on the Salton Sea at its lowest state of the public's esteem. Negative news was everywhere to be seen and heard. They found that given the rec days at that time, 80,000 users, the lowest ebb of the state park here at the sea, brought in close to $64 million/year to local economies. The rec days then paid $55/per day/person. This again reflected the users on the rest of Salton Sea. So the potential is there, given a saved Salton Sea.

A total of $50 million the SDCWA brings on as big, big, is really a very small amount to offer this poor county and leave us with a lifetime of dust, smell and, of course, the piddling amount of $50 million to Imperial County. What about the West Shores of the Salton Sea? Will we see any of it?

Bad press has once again appeared in the news coming in from New York to Los Angeles. They are putting out the usual lies and misinformation as before in light of the great science that comes from the Salton Sea Authority. Recreation one water in the Salton Sea? Yes, and for years the Regional Water Quality Board 7 has made this common knowledge. It is still ignored.

The sea is the best fishing in the United States, if not the world. And yes, we and they eat them, a great food supply. Fishing licenses cost $37.50, a lot of money to pay for inedible fish. Salton Sea salinity has stayed the same for the last eight years, give or take; 42 and up to 44 ppt and then down again. All we need is a good rainstorm every two years and as we have witnessed since 1956. The fishing gets better and swimming is great and the users at the state park grow each year along with the amount of rec days.

Money and thousands of great-paying jobs for all the population of Imperial County is, I hope, is in our future.

NORM NIVER

Imperial County

planning commissioner

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