Salton Sea Receives National Support in Farm Bill
PALM DESERT – Riverside County Supervisor and Salton Sea Authority Board Member V. Manuel Perez commends the Coachella Valley’s federal representatives for expanding access to federal funding for the Salton Sea in the newly signed Farm Bill.
“It is encouraging to have another funding source for the Salton Sea,” said Supervisor V. Manuel Perez. “We thank Congressman Ruiz, Senator Feinstein and Senator Harris for changing policy at the federal level to broaden the avenues of funding and benefit our community in helping address this major priority. Funding for restoration is looking more realistic than ever before in our lifetimes, with locally doable infrastructure projects such as Riverside County’s North Lake plan, state bond funding and a 10-year phase of projects, and now greater federal support for the Salton Sea as achieved by this legislation.”
The Farm Bill, H.R. 2, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, was signed into law by President Donald J. Trump on Dec. 20.
The Farm Bill made the Salton Sea more broadly eligible for annual federal allocations for conservation projects by removing a limitation on work on irrigation district lands such as the Salton Sea playa. The legislation allows the U.S. Department of Agriculture to contract with the Imperial Irrigation District, Coachella Valley Water District and the California Natural Resources Agency through an expedited process for habitat and air quality improvements directly on the playa.
The Farm Bill included several other provisions of benefit to the Salton Sea. These include:
• enhancing the federal government’s ability to work with tribal governments around the Salton Sea,
• providing funding for a critical water conservation infrastructure program,
• the authority to expand the Regional Conservation Partnership Program project at the Salton Sea,
• improved cost share for certain conservation measures,
• authorization of special drought conservation agreements, and
• targeted provisions to prioritize funding for environmental resources impacted by regional drought concerns.
The Salton Sea provisions of the Farm Bill were carried by U.S. Rep. Raul Ruiz and U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris. The Salton Sea Authority, as the lead local agency working with community, state and federal partners, coordinated the advocacy effort in support of the legislation.