The following is the transcript of a 3 minute public comment that I made to the State Water Resources Control Board Salton Sea Information Update.
I enjoyed the presentations and the data updates from everyone so far. I’m encouraged by the active data sharing relationship with the IID. I’d like to suggest that other data be included as part of the CRNA’s Dust Suppression plans. That other data should be from academic institutions, environmental groups and from other local government agencies.
Most importantly, the CNRA should incorporate water quality monitoring data from the regional water quality control board.
That data can be used to explore water quality parameters for justification of projects and for assessment and evaluation of contaminants.
In terms of water quality, there are three types that need a concentrated emphasis from the CRNA. Those are (1) the detection of pathogens into the Salton Sea from the New River and Whitewater river inflows. These rivers are impaired and these related TMDLs should be monitored. (2) the chemicals from agricultural runoff such as pesticides and fertilizers, and (3) water quality parameters that are typical of natural saline lakes. These parameters include natural parameters that may not have a direct health relationship on health such as salinity, Dissolved Oxygen, and pH. There are also natural contaminants to include of a health concern (e.g. selenium and algal toxins).
On top of this, I’d like to state that the RWQCB has not sampled several sample points within the Salton Sea due to the lack of a boat ramp for safe launching conditions. As a work around for this challenge, the RWQCB has been using annual data from the USBR sampling up through 2020 for basic Water Quality parameters. These data would be helpful for the CRNA project plans and continued monitoring.
The CRNA’s projects should not only control dust, but also improve the water quality of the Salton Sea. Improving water quality isn’t always a conventional water treatment plant. The new emergent wetlands, the vegetation establishment, and the improved shallow water aquatic habitats should have a measurable effect on the Salton Sea’s water quality. This needs better monitoring by the CRNA and can be measured through the data that the RWQCB routinely collects.
Many of our community members in the ECV want to “Clean Up” the lake. You can show your progress on this by collecting better Water Quality data.