California Gets $70 Million in Federal Funding to Accelerate Salton Sea Restoration

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: $70 million from the Biden-Harris Administration is now available to help the State of California accelerate restoration of the Salton Sea, improving conditions for wildlife and surrounding communities. The funding is part of a $250 million commitment from the Inflation Reduction Act, which complements the more than $500 million in state funding secured to date.

SACRAMENTO — Governor Gavin Newsom today highlighted the first major federal investment coming to California to accelerate the state’s ongoing work to restore the Salton Sea through efforts that enhance wildlife habitat, protect public health and improve water quality at the lake.

The Biden-Harris Administration announced yesterday that $70 million in federal funding is being transferred to the state’s Salton Sea Management Program, the first tranche of funding from a $250 million federal commitment announced last year to accelerate dust suppression and aquatic habitat projects at the Salton Sea. 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, resulting in exposed lakebed that releases small dust particles that worsen air quality in the Imperial Valley, a region already burdened by poor air quality. 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. 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.” Governor Gavin Newsom
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 yesterday to celebrate the historic funding.

More information can be found here.