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USGS Salton Sea Science Office
works closely with federal, state, local, nongovernmental, and tribal partners, providing information for management actions. This USGS office has a unique charter to serve as an independent liaison between resource managers and the scientific community. In that capacity the the office provides scientific information and evaluations to decision makers who are engaged in restoration planning and actions associated with the Salton Sea. The office also serves as a centralized source of important documents developed by a variety of agencies all relevant to the Salton Sea. The primary focus is on the natural resources of the Salton Sea, including the sea’s ability to sustain biological resources and associated social and economic values.
Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger)
American Avocet (Recurvirostra americana)
A Sea in Transition: Water transfers from agricultural uses in the Imperial Valley to municipal uses in southern California will decrease agricultural return flow to the Salton Sea. Unless mitigation actions are taken, the reduced flow will result in loss of aquatic and wetland habitat, increased salinity, a lower lake level, and degraded air quality. In 2007, the California Secretary for Resources recommended a preferred alternative and funding plan to the California State Legislature. The alternative calls for creation of a 45,000 acre horseshoe-shaped marine lake in the northern basin and the development of 62,000 acres of saline habitat in the southern and northern parts of the basin. The California Legislature has not acted on that alternative but has authorized a new construction and funding feasibility study to be conducted by the Salton Sea Authority.
The State, Imperial Irrigation District, and Torres Martinez Indians are meanwhile moving ahead with plans to construct wetland habitat near the Salton Sea to provide some initial habitat replacement for fish and fish-eating birds.