After two years of often intense debate and research, state officials have finished an environmental report providing 10 alternatives to help save the Salton Sea, California's largest lake.
LOS ANGELES -- After two years of often intense debate and research, state officials have finished an environmental report providing 10 alternatives to help save the Salton Sea, California's largest lake.
The report, scheduled to be released Thursday, outlines various solutions to increasing salinity levels, dropping water levels and threats to critical habitat areas, according to an executive summary obtained by The Associated Press. The lake is a critical North American habitat for migrating birds.
"All of us are relieved," said Dale Hoffman-Floerke, chief of the Colorado River and Salton Sea office for the Department of Water Resources, which prepared the report along with the Department of Fish and Game. "This has definitely been work over a long period of time."
The alternatives include various levels of new infrastructure with construction costs ranging from $2.3 billion to $5.9 billion in today's dollars. All the alternatives feature a reduced lake, various levels of habitat protection and air quality management, said Hoffman-Floerke.
"We don't have all the answers. There is still a lot of uncertainty out there as far as water quality issues, but I think we've done a pretty good job ... with the information we have," she said.
The state will now enter a 90-day public comment period before they will have to submit a "preferred alternative" to the state Legislature. Since the report was finished later than expected, state officials will miss by about two weeks the Dec. 31, 2006, deadline for the alternative imposed by the Legislature, Hoffman-Floerke said.
Source: Associated Press