SALTON SEA, Calif.-
The Salton Sea has been shrinking over the years and has increased health hazards in certain areas in California. Federal, State and local officials were at a ceremony today to start the revitalization of the Red Hill Bay Marina just east of the Salton Sea, to improve the quality of wetland habitat to conditions similar to sea shoreline decades ago.
Eduardo Garcia an Assembly-member for California’s 56th Assembly District says the restoration will decrease health hazards in the area surrounding the bay and will also give migrating birds their habitat back. “This area will be restored to a point where we will be addressing the air quality and at the same time habitat concerns that have been hanging over our heads for many, many years” said Garcia.
The plan is to use drainage irrigation water from agriculture and mix it with Salton Sea water to restore the 420 acres of the Red Hill bay. Imperial Irrigation District says it will take less than two years for the bay to be filled and will not affect agriculture. This plan has been in the works for years and cost around $5 million to complete.
“Effectively, they are trying to recreate what the Salton Sea was 20 years ago”, said Stephen Benson, the Board President for the Imperial Irrigation District.
This is the first of other efforts to restore the drying Salton Sea. “It’s an important beginning process to let not only the public know but also demonstrate the governmental entities are working to get these projects off the ground,” said Garcia.