Salton Sea Science Office

Office History

Southern Pacific Railroad washed out by Flooding Colorado River emptying into the Salton Sink, circa 1905-06
Abandoned bath house on dry playa at Niland Boat Ramp

The Salton Sea Science Office was established in 2000 in response to a request from the Deputy Secretary for the Department of the Interior to provide "continuity of the science effort, effectiveness of the science undertaken in support of the restoration project, and efficiency of operations in serving management needs ..." (from the 2000 Strategic Science Plan Salton Sea Restoration Project). Working closely with federal, state, local, nongovernmental, and tribal partners, this office has provided information for management actions under the Salton Sea Ecosystem Restoration Program. For additional information regarding the program, please visit

This office collaborates with the State of California to link state and federal managers with the scientific community. The results of numerous peer-reviewed, integrated scientific studies coordinated or conducted by the office have been considered in the selection of a preferred alternative for restoration. In addition, this office is working with the Bureau of Reclamation to assess models that predict risks of contaminants to birds, Miles et al 2009. USGS scientists also are exploring the potential for large-scale uses of artificial saline habitat based on a constructed wetland complex. The office is helping to design an integrated monitoring and assessment plan and other plans for Early Start Habitat—an effort to create shallow, saline habitat for birds and fish to use as the lake’s salinity increases beyond most biological tolerances, Case, H. L., III et al 2013.

Documents listed below were crucial to establishing this office and how we function. These documents are the result of multiple workshops and committees involving hundreds of experts giving guidance on how a science office should function as an independent, unbiased advisory capacity.

Saving the Salton Sea (1997)

Science Support for Restoration of the Salton Sea (1999)


History Collage

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