Draft Environmental Assessment/Finding of No Significant Impact Available for Public Review

Media Contact: Robert Walsh, 702-293-8421
Cheryl Rodriguez, 702-293-8167

For Release: August 19, 2005

A Draft Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for a shallow water habitat pilot project that would provide data for the Salton Sea Restoration Project is available for public review.

The document is available on Reclamation's Web site at http://www.usbr.gov/lc/region/programs/saltonsea.html. Hard copies of the document are also available at the Imperial County Library, Niland Branch, 8105 Highway 111, Niland, CA, and may be reviewed on Mondays and Thursdays between the hours of 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m., and Tuesdays and Wednesdays between the hours of 9 a.m. and 12 p.m.

The document will be available for public review until September 19. Questions about the technical aspects of the project can be directed to Cheryl Rodriguez at (702) 293-8167. Comments on the draft document may be submitted to the Bureau of Reclamation, Lower Colorado Region, Attn: (LC-1430), 500 Fir Street, Boulder City, NV 89005.

The pilot project would provide data pertinent to the successful design of saline shallow water ponds proposed as part of the larger Salton Sea Restoration Project. For the project, four shallow water ponds will be created from two existing ponds located on the shore of the Salton Sea, approximately four miles southwest of Niland, California. The ponds are located on land owned by the Imperial Irrigation District, Cal Energy, and the State of California.

To create a saline water environment, a mixture of water from the Alamo River and Salton Sea would be pumped through the four ponds. The water would increase in salinity as it flowed from one pond to another, because of water losses from evaporation. Researchers would note how the different salinity levels attract various wildlife, particularly bird species. Water flows, maintenance, and biological and chemical monitoring of the ponds would be continued for at least two breeding seasons and for no longer than four years.

The project would be initiated in October 2005.

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