Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Salton Sea's test ponds

If you care about the Salton Sea, read this excellent article. It offers a podcast, a slide show of birds, a video with wildlife biologist Doug Barnum and a helpful illustration. These newspaper/online journalists "get it."

Four seemingly innocuous ponds near the Salton Sea could ensure that California's largest but ailing lake remains a key stopover for millions of migrating birds and one of the nation's most biologically rich areas.

State agency officials trying to prevent the saltwater lake from shrinking and becoming too salty for fish and birds are gambling that the test ponds will be a successful substitute and that larger-scale versions can be built into the seabed as the water recedes.

California Resources Secretary Mike Chrisman is expected to recommend a roughly $6 billion restoration plan for the lake to the state Legislature by the end of this month. It's likely to call for the construction of 62,000 acres of shallow lakes that, like the test ponds, are dotted with islands and other features to attract birds.

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