It was a major win for advocates of the Salton Sea clean-up efforts as millions of federal dollars will be available to help the sea, it is an aid that residents near the sea have been waiting decades.
The chairman of the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians, Thomas Tortez is also a board member of the Salton Sea Authority.
He said, “I found out the news this morning, I came through email through our Salton Sea Board of Directors.”
The news the Salton Sea is eligible for millions of dollars in federal funding for clean-up efforts.
President Donald Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill, a bipartisan agreement negotiated by Congressman Raul Ruiz and both California Senators.
Ruiz said, “You half of the reservation is under the sea 11,000 acres for over 100 years this opens up a wide array for the tribe that we could look at you know as far as recreational, you know public interest.”
Tortez and his predecessors have been big advocates to restore the Salton Sea, but funding is needed in order to set mitigation plans in motion.
However, he said there are projects that can easily be started right away, such as addressing air quality in the East Valley.
Tortez said, “The natural plants and brush that were here before and we are putting them in different spots in our wetlands over here so that when the dust blows it gathers around the brush.”
Now with federal aid promised towards projects like the Salton Sea, Tortez said a big-picture solution would be to separate the sea.
He said, “One is going to be a lower marshland, with a dam separating and then we’re actually creating a river so it’s going to have an inflow and outflow.”
Community members are encouraged to attend meetings by the Salton Sea Authority, learn more about the organization, here.