The newly appointed Secretary of Natural Resources for California visited the East Coachella Valley and witnessed the challenges facing the community for himself on his first official trip.
The Secretary, Wade Crowfoot is one month into his appointed position but brings years of environmental experience as the previous head of the Water Foundation a lobbying group with the focus on the state’s water management.
Crowfoot said, “A lot of Californians haven’t been here, and don’t know what’s happening here.”
What is happening is that the Salton Sea is evaporating, the sea has no running flow of water in or out, but the state if offering solutions.
A 10 year Salton Sea Management Plan was proposed by the state one of the ideas is to create water flow outlets connecting to the Alamo and New Rivers.
“We’re not going to make the sea look like it did 50 years ago,” Crowfoot said. “But we’re going to do important projects around the sea that provides aquatic habitat, a recreational opportunity that does mitigation.”
But the plan is costly and delayed.
Silvia Paz is the Executive Director of Alianza, a non-profit organization, she said bureaucratic red-tape is prolonging the process.
Paz said, “Where do we start I think we needed to start years ago, that’s the reality.”
Projects like the 10-year-plan have $200,000,000 from the state and the opportunity to match it in federal grants through the Farm Bill.
Paz said, “What the community is asking for is doable, some of the challenges of the challenges around the Salton Sea have to do with inter-agency agreements.”
Crowfoot said the clean-up efforts have begun but the community will not notice immediate progress, and he said the 10-year-plan begins this year.
Crowfoot said, “So it’s taking some time but really my visit down here was focused on rolling up sleeves, identifying what’s slowing down projects or preventing them from getting down and surpass those barriers so we get more projects around the sea.”