REPORT: 2024 Salton Sea Management Program Annual Report Submitted to State Water Board

From the California Natural Resources Agency:

The California Natural Resources Agency has submitted its 2024 Annual Report on the Salton Sea Management Program (SSMP) to the State Water Resources Control Board, prepared in compliance with Order WR 2017-0134. The report provides specific updates on the SSMP’s activities in 2023 and planning for future projects, ongoing partnerships to help the SSMP meet its goals, community engagement, and next steps. English and Spanish versions of the report can be found at under the Featured Documents heading.

Sedimentation Basins at SCH
Aerial view looking north of the Species Conservation Habitat New River diversion system, the East and West Sedimentation Basins, and the New River and its riparian vegetation.

Significant, measurable progress continued at the Salton Sea in 2023. The largest restoration project in the Sea’s history neared completion, which will suppress dust and restore habitat across thousands of acres at the south end of the Sea. In other areas along the Sea, hundreds of acres now host native vegetation recently planted to suppress dust over coming decades. These plants have taken root, are growing and are beginning to serve their purpose. This year also witnessed the first major investment by federal agencies to stabilize the Sea; the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation granted $70 million to accelerate local restoration projects. This funding is being put into action to start expanding the Species Conservation Habitat Project by an additional 1,000 acres.

Great progress also occurred to accelerate additional improvements under the current Phase 1: 10-Year Plan. Key planning and permitting advanced high priority restoration projects and key staff positions were filled on the Salton Sea Management Program to ramp up this work. Partnerships have strengthened with community groups and leaders that are helping shape our efforts at the Sea, and a long-planned Community Needs Report is nearing completion to galvanize further improvements at the Sea.

Vegetation Enhancement project, bales with vegetation around it
Recent plant growth at the Vegetation Enhancement Project Clubhouse site near the community of Salton City.

While we share constructive progress in this annual report, we recognize that significant work remains ahead, and we must continue to accelerate and broaden our work at the Sea. Partnerships with communities, Tribal governments, interested parties, and local, state, and federal agencies are crucial to achieving the goals of the SSMP.

The annual report and the status of the SSMP will be the focus of an all-day public workshop convened by the State Water Board on May 22, 2024. Details for this workshop are available on the State Water Board’s Salton Sea program webpage.

In addition, the SSMP team plans to hold two in-person community workshops in the Salton Sea region and an online webinar in advance of the State Water Board’s workshop. The SSMP team will provide an overview of the report, share project updates, and answer questions on the work completed by the SSMP during 2023. These meetings are being planned for early May. More details on these community workshops are forthcoming and will be announced via the SSMP e-Newsletter and on the SSMP website.


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