PALM SPRINGS, Calif. -

The Salton Sea is at a critical point.

"The clock is ticking and the more that we can do to educate people about the importance of restoring the Salton Sea is a good thing," Assemblymember Manuel Pérez. 

The lake continues to face a slew of problems: soaring salt levels, bird disease and overabundant nutrients threaten the marine life of the lake.  

And they might soon impact public health if no action is taken.  

"If we allow the sea to die and the shoreline begins to recede we're going to breathe that air in.  It's going to really hurt and impact our respiratory systems," Pérez said.

Local experts on the sea gathered at the Palm Springs Art museum in an open forum to discuss the sea's persisting problems.

 And one conclusion surfaced:  a quick fix doesn't exist.  

"Every time we think we have a solution to one of the problems, the solutions to that may actually make some of the other problems worse.  And so it's a series of compromises," said Dr. Douglas Barnum, a science coordinator for the U.S. Geological Survey.

Compromises that won't be cheap.  

"The cost of restoring the sea could be in the billions," Pérez said.

Some say that while public awareness has grown, it's still one of the major challenges to making restoring the Salton Sea a reality.  

"We need to organize ourselves.  I think we have some momentum now that that we've never had before or at least that I haven't seen, at many different levels," Pérez said.

Experts encouraged Coachella Valley residents to make their voices heard by contacting their local officials.

"That's the only thing that's going to get the job done, is if we all get on the same page. All of the various programs get on the same page and work toward a common solution," Barnum said.