Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Raul Ruiz (36th District of California)
Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D. urged federal agencies to make good on their obligations to protect the environment and the public’s health at the Salton Sea. In a letter sent Monday to Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman and Fish and Wildlife Service Director Aurelia Skipwith, Ruiz called on each agency to detail how they have spent federal funds on projects at the Sea and to provide a plan for how they will work with the State of California on the Salton Sea Management Program.
“The unfolding public health and environmental crisis at the Salton Sea is one of the most pressing issues that my constituents face, and any solution will require full participation from federal, state, and local partners working in coordination,” Dr. Ruiz wrote in the letter. “Each of your departments play a critical role in managing the health of the Salton Sea, and your absence at the Congressional hearing on the Salton Sea to account for how your work protects our environment and the public’s health was unacceptable.”
The text of the letter can be found here.
The Bureau of Reclamation owns 79,000 acres of land at and around the Salton Sea and has managed this land as an agricultural drainage sink since 1909.
The Salton Sea Reclamation Act of 1998 (PL 105-372) required the Bureau to develop and consider a range of options to manage the salinity of the Sea, and these proposals were published in 2007.
Most recently, the Bureau has partnered with the State of California on dust suppression and other projects at the Salton Sea.
The Fish and Wildlife Service manages over 32,000 acres as part of the Sonny Bono National Wildlife Refuge at the Salton Sea.
This refuge is a critical part of the Pacific Flyway and provides habitat for numerous endangered species.
The Fish and Wildlife Service is also a partner in the construction of the Red Hill Bay habitat project, which has been under construction since 2015.