clear
Thursday October 19th, 2017 11:05PM

California: $400 million plan to slow largest lake shrinkage

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

SAN DIEGO (AP) — California Gov. Jerry Brown's administration on Thursday proposed spending nearly $400 million over 10 years to slow the shrinking of the state's largest lake just as it is expected to evaporate an accelerated pace.

The plan involves building ponds on the northern and southern ends of the Salton Sea, a salty, desert lake that has suffered a string of environmental setbacks since the late 1970s. During its heyday of international speed boat races, it drew more visitors than Yosemite National Park and celebrities including Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and the Beach Boys.

The proposal comes at a critical time for the lake about 150 miles southeast of Los Angeles because San Diego's regional water agency will soon stop sending water to help preserve the lake. San Diego agreed in 2003 to contribute water through 2017 under a landmark deal to buy Colorado River water from the Imperial Valley, which includes the lake.

The $383-million proposal ran into immediate questions over who will pay for it. The state has set aside $80 million under a voter-approved water bond measure, leaving a shortfall of $300 million.

The lake is often called "The Accidental Sea" because it was created in 1905 when the Colorado River breached a dike and two years of flooding filled a sizzling basin that today is about 35 miles long, 15 miles wide and only 50 feet deep.

The lake, which has no outlet, would have quickly evaporated if farmers hadn't settled California's southeastern corner. The Imperial Valley provides the U.S. with much of its winter vegetables on farms that feed off the Colorado River and drain into the Salton Sea.

The 2003 agreement to wean California's dependence on the drought-stricken river called for San Diego to buy large amounts of Imperial Valley water. The San Diego County Water Authority and other local agencies agreed to deliver water to the Salton Sea for 15 years while the state developed a long-term fix.

The Brown administration said the U.S. Agriculture Department recently committed $7.5 million to preserve the lake and identified federal, state and local governments and philanthropic groups as potential contributors.

Even fully funded, the plan wouldn't cover newly exposed lakebed, which may cause respiratory problems for residents who breathe the dust and erode a key habitat for hundreds of species of birds.

Projects outlined in the 26-page plan released by the California's Natural Resources Agency would cover 29,800 acres of the 48,300 acres expected to dry up by 2028 if nothing were done.

The Sierra Club said the plan addressed many of its short-term concerns such as potential funding sources and specific projects to protect air quality and wildlife habitat. It said the lack of secured funding required state leaders to work together to avoid a "human health, ecological and economic disaster."

"The 10-year plan is a real step forward for the state of California — and one that could not come soon enough with sharp declines in water to the Salton Sea coming in less than 10 months," said Sarah Friedman, senior representative of the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign.

The Imperial Irrigation District, which manages the Imperial Valley's water, asked the State Water Resources Control Board on Thursday to hold hearings that could lead to binding measures to preserve the lake.

Kevin Kelley, the district's general manager, wrote that the plan "constitutes substantial progress" and that he was encouraged by its specific milestones and cost estimates. But he said State Water Resources Control Board's regulatory intervention and oversight was needed to ensure the lake's future after Brown leaves office in 2018.

"We recognize that the Brown administration has limited time left during its tenure and that it cannot bind its successors' hands," he wrote.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, AP Health, AP Business
© Copyright 2017 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Spain expects even faster economic growth this year
Spain's central bank has revised upward its 2017 growth forecast from 2.8 percent to 3.1 percent owing to strong consumer demand and exports
5:42AM ( 39 minutes ago )
Suspected N.Korea drone photographed US missile defense site
South Korea's Defense Ministry says a suspected North Korean drone found last week after it crashed near the Korean border had photographed a U.S. missile defense system in the South
5:42AM ( 40 minutes ago )
Global stocks gain as investors shrug off tech rout, eye Fed
Global shares gain, shrugging off Wall Street tech rout ahead of Federal Reserve decision on interest rates
5:38AM ( 43 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
AP FACT CHECK: The trophies in Trump's display Cabinet
AP FACT CHECK: Trump shows off a few too many trophies in his display Cabinet
5:08AM ( 1 hour ago )
Sessions to face sharp questions on Russia contacts
Attorney General Jeff Sessions' testimony to the Senate Intelligence committee Tuesday will be open to the public
4:42AM ( 1 hour ago )
Trump transition aide was key player in Flynn's Turkish work
A little-known figure who was active on President Donald Trump's transition team, Bijan Kian, is emerging as a key player in the political scandal involving Trump's fired National Security Adviser Michael Flynn
4:39AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
Trimming monument in Utah pleases Republicans, angers tribes
Plan to trim national monument in Utah pleases Republicans, angers tribes
2:59AM ( 3 hours ago )
Bill Cosby jury to hear more of his deposition testimony
Jurors in Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial want to hear more of his deposition testimony from the accuser's lawsuit when they resume deliberations on Tuesday
2:48AM ( 3 hours ago )
Deliberations resume in police officer's manslaughter trial
Jurors resume deliberations Tuesday in the manslaughter trial of a Minnesota police officer who fatally shot a black motorist seconds after the man informed him he was carrying a gun.
1:14AM ( 5 hours ago )
Top U.S. News short headlines
New frontier in cancer care: Turning blood into living drugs
Immune therapy is the hottest trend in cancer care and 'living drugs' are its next frontier
9:15PM ( 9 hours ago )
Doctors reprogram patients' own cells into cancer assassins
Doctors are genetically engineering patients' own immune cells to be stronger and smarter in fighting cancer
5:05PM ( 13 hours ago )
Obesity rising in nations rich and poor, especially in kids
A new study finds the world's weight problem is growing in countries rich and poor, and in many of them obesity is increasing faster in children than adults
1:55PM ( 16 hours ago )
AP Health
Durant planned for this title months ago in picking Warriors
Kevin Durant didn't really need a hard sell that day in the Hamptons as the Golden State Warriors used their "Strength in Numbers" mantra to recruit him
4:56AM ( 1 hour ago )
Trump to tout apprenticeships as way to fill jobs gap
President Donald Trump says apprenticeships could match workers with the nation's estimated 6 million open jobs but they are reluctant to spend any taxpayer money on the effort
4:54AM ( 1 hour ago )
Panama switches diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China
Panama has switched diplomatic relations from Taiwan to China, dealing a major victory to Beijing in its drive to isolate the self-governing island it claims as its own territory
3:55AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Business
Spain expects even faster economic growth this year
Spain's central bank has revised upward its 2017 growth forecast from 2.8 percent to 3.1 percent owing to strong consumer demand and exports
5:42AM ( 39 minutes ago )
Suspected N.Korea drone photographed US missile defense site
South Korea's Defense Ministry says a suspected North Korean drone found last week after it crashed near the Korean border had photographed a U.S. missile defense system in the South
5:42AM ( 40 minutes ago )
Global stocks gain as investors shrug off tech rout, eye Fed
Global shares gain, shrugging off Wall Street tech rout ahead of Federal Reserve decision on interest rates
5:38AM ( 43 minutes ago )
Former NBA player Dennis Rodman arrives in North Korea
Dennis Rodman, the former NBA bad boy who has palled around with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, is back in Pyongyang for the first time in Donald Trump's presidency
5:30AM ( 51 minutes ago )
British inflation rate rises to 4-year high as Brexit bites
The inflation rate in Britain has risen to its highest level in four years, as the drop in the pound since the Brexit vote pushes up the cost of living
5:23AM ( 59 minutes ago )