FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, 12/11/02
Defenders of Wildlife | Pacific Institute | Planning and Conservation
Michael Cohen 720-564-0651, Kim Delfino 916-313-5809, Karen Douglas
Salton Sea Threatened by IID Vote
Environmental groups today cautioned that the Salton Sea should
not suffer for Monday nights 3-2 vote by the Imperial Irrigation
District (IID) Board of Directors not to transfer water from the
Imperial Valley to San Diego. Today, nearly one million birds
-- of more than one hundred different species -- are at the Salton
Sea, ignorant of the impending threat to their valuable habitat.
"IIDs vote on Monday night is not the end of the story,"
said Michael Cohen, Senior Associate with the Pacific Institute.
"The danger is that the federal government will reduce deliveries
to IID, or that IID or the farmers will cut a back-room deal,
either of which could dramatically cut inflows to the Salton Sea,
killing fish and birds."
"Cutting inflows to the Salton Sea would also affect public
health, as more dust will blow into the Coachella and Imperial
Valleys," said Karen Douglas, Natural Resources Director
of the Planning and Conservation League. "To minimize public
health and environmental impacts, any action to take water from
IID must not affect the Sea."
"There will be no peace on the Colorado River or in the
Salton Sea basin until the Department of the Interior carries
out its long-term responsibility to protect and restore the Salton
Sea," stated Kim Delfino, California Program Director, Defenders
of Wildlife. "The concerns about how a water transfer will
affect the Sea have been magnified a thousand times because the
federal government has shirked its responsibility to the address
"The Legislature directed the California Resources Agency
to develop restoration alternatives for the Sea back in August,
but Resources has yet to respond," added Karen Douglas. "The
State has to take the lead to come up with a sustainable, long-term
plan for the Salton Sea. This issue is not going to go away until
"IID has not made many friends with its recent vote,"
said Michael Cohen. "But in the rush to punish IID, the Salton
Sea shouldnt be made to suffer."
Salton Sea information page: http://www.pacinst.org/topics/water_and_sustainability