U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today praised the Obama Administration for signaling its commitment to helping restore the Salton Sea by including a request in the President's 2014 budget that would support restoration efforts.
The Army Corps of Engineers – at the urging of Senator Boxer and Congressman Raul Ruiz (D-Palm Desert) – included the request for $200,000 to help advance a State plan to create a 3,770-acre complex of shallow ponds on the south side of the Sea. The ponds would provide essential habitat for wildlife while testing strategies for reducing dust and salinity, supporting increased fish production and attracting birds – information that can help guide the long-term restoration effort.
The request marks the first time a President has specifically included funding for the Salton Sea as part of the Army Corps' annual budget proposal.
"It is a breakthrough that for the first time the Army Corps of Engineers is allocating funds in its budget to help restore the Salton Sea," said Senator Boxer. "The Salton Sea is critical to the health of families across Southern California as well as the environment and the economy. With a coordinated effort by federal, state and local agencies, we can begin this important restoration work while we develop long-term strategies to save the Sea."
The funding would allow the Army Corps of Engineers to study the State's habitat restoration plan and determine how the Corps can build on the State's efforts in the coming years.
These funds would be the first allocation of the $30 million in federal funds authorized for Salton Sea restoration, which Senator Boxer secured in the Water Resources Development Act of 2007 (WRDA). The budget request would enable the Corps to move toward signing an agreement with the California Department of Water Resources to allow state-expended funds to count toward the required 35 percent local cost share to perform the restoration work authorized in WRDA.