Salton Sea Management Program (SSMP)
In 2015, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. formed the Salton Sea Task Force. This group had the assignment of identifying short- and medium-term goals to respond to air quality and ecological threats at the Salton Sea. The Task Force actions included to meet a short-term goal of 9,000 acres to 12,000 acres of dust suppression and habitat projects and establish a medium-term goal of 18,000 acres to 25,000 acres. This first phase of the Salton Sea Management Program (Phase I - 10-Year Plan) has been designed to speed up construction of the habitat and to suppress dust on areas of playa that have been or will be exposed at the Salton Sea by 2028.
• California Park Bond Proposals (AB 18 & SB 5) have secured $200 million to fund a significant part of the 10-year Salton Sea Management Plan to control dust and build thousands of acres of wetlands around the lake’s retreating shorelines. $10 million of this fund will be allocated to the New River Project.
• Under Proposition 1, $80.5 million has been provided to fund the SSMP for water supply infrastructure, wetlands development on Torres-Martinez tribal lands, and dust suppression/habitat construction.
• Under Proposition 84, the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Red Hill Bay Project has been awarded approximately $1.85 million, and the State’s Phase I-Species Conservation Habitat Project (SCH) has an additional $32 million.
• In addition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved a $7.5 million grant that will be used to construct “Best Available Control Measure” Projects (BACM). These projects are proof-of-concept actions on agricultural land that can lead to potentially larger USDA funding.
• Proposition 68 was approved in 2018 to secure $111.16M for construction of SCH projects, $20M for Habitat Enhancement and Dust Suppression Projects. Approximately $7-10M for staffing and administration. $24.6M contingency funds for SCH (these funds were assigned to CNRA). Additionally, Salton Sea Authority received $19.25M to implement North Lake Pilot Demonstration Project. The City of Calexico received $10M to implement the New River Improvement Project.
• Under Governor Gavin Newsom administration some other bills have been approved towards the Salton Sea future, like SB 125 in June 2022, which created an excise tax on lithium extraction beginning in January 2023. The bill directs 80 percent of the tax revenue to Imperial County and 20 percent to maintenance and development of Salton Sea restoration projects and grants for community engagement or community-benefit projects at or around the Salton Sea.