For years experts have warned about the catastrophic effects a shrinking Salton Sea will have on the valley.
“It would have a big impact on the economy here on the north end it would be tourism economy primarily on the south end it would be agricultural economy, the dust is going to harm the crops and then there’s the overall health issue that’s going to be all the way around the Salton Sea,” says Bruce Wilcox, the assistant secretary with the California Natural Resource Agency, who is charged with managing and developing programs to save the sea.
He says the health impacts loom large as more of the playa gets exposed, “That will cause issues for respiratory ailments for kids and adults that already have some of the highest asthma rates in the state.”
Wilcox says voters passing Proposition 68 which will inject $200 million of the $4.1 billion in funds will have lasting impacts, “It will allow us to continue to working on the Salton Sea management program but perhaps something that’s even more exciting is the fact that the state of California Salton Sea is now on their radar.”
But that’s only a drop in the bucket.
“It’s a big step in the right direction but it isn’t enough probably $400 million to complete phase one … and that’s phase one longer term management is not funded.” he says but adding that drop is a big deal, “It’s a victory for the Salton Sea, it’s a victory for people who live around the Salton Sea and I‘m very pleased that it got the kind of support that it did.”