The interactive, data-rich USGS geonarrative "A Desert on the Move" looks at earthquake and volcanic hazards around the Salton Sea. Understanding these hazards is an important part of successfully planning and restoring the Salton Sea for the future.
Geonarrative Investigates Geohazards of the Salton Sea
Historic agreement funded by the Inflation Reduction Act
Salton Sea public health disaster gets a $250 million 'shot in the arm'
California’s Salton Sea is shrinking. As drought worsens with climate change and water supplies dwindle, this area will change and the people, wildlife, and industry of this area will be significantly impacted. Changes to the water supply have direct impacts on the Sea and its wetland ecosystems, which support tens of thousands of migratory birds and rare pupfish. The valleys around it support small cities, extensive agriculture, and renewable energy infrastructure.
In November 2022, the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation announced an historic agreement funded by the Inflation Reduction Act that will mitigate impacts from the worsening drought crisis impacting the Salton Sea in Southern California. This agreement empowers organizations at the local, state, and federal levels to collaboratively develop plans that will reverse the Salton Sea’s decline, while ensuring it is resilient to future changes.
USGS science contributes combined expertise to inform the planning and designs of this restoration approach and management plan. From understanding geohazards and monitoring water resources to understanding climate change impacts on ecosystem health, USGS supports partners in creating sustainable infrastructure that is resilient to climate change and natural hazards.
The geonarrative, “A Desert on the Move”, addresses the geohazards present in the area. Beneath the Salton Sea is a network of active tectonic faults some of which have produced some of the largest earthquakes in California’s history. Restoration plans often involve massive engineering projects, including the construction of water-conveyance infrastructure—dams, levees, canals, and the like—which are susceptible to earthquake damage. Any efforts to restore the Sea’s ecological health and manage its water resources must account for the geohazards posed by these active faults and consider the long-term sustainability of management plans.
The interactive, data-rich USGS geonarrative looks at earthquake and volcanic hazards around the Salton Sea and how these hazards could affect the potential pipeline locations and other designs. Understanding these hazards is an important part of successfully planning and restoring the Salton Sea for the future.