Report 2013-101 Recommendations and Responses in 2015-041

Report 2013-101: Salton Sea Restoration Fund: The State Has Not Fully Funded a Restoration Plan and the State's Future Mitigation Costs Are Uncertain

Department Number of Years Reported As Not Fully Implemented Total Recommendations to Department Not Implemented After One Year Not Implemented as of 2014-041 Response Not Implemented as of Most Recent Response
California Natural Resources Agency 1 3 2 N/A 2

Recommendation To: Natural Resources Agency, California

To ensure that the Legislature has the information necessary to meet the State's restoration goals and to plan for the State's future financial obligations related to mitigation, the Resources Agency should work with Fish and Wildlife and Water Resources to meet with the Legislature regularly to provide updates on the status of its restoration efforts and the feasibility study to ensure that the Legislature has the information necessary to make funding and other informed decisions.

Response

The Governor formed the Salton Sea Task Force in the Budget May Revision of 2015 to identify short, medium and long term goals for the Salton Sea. The Task Force has been meeting with stakeholders and Legislators since that time on restoration and planning efforts including the Feasibility Study. Staff from the Natural Resources Agency has been updating legislative staff directly of these discussions as they progress.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Partially Implemented
  • Estimated Completion Date: September 2015
  • Response Date: September 2015

Recommendation To: Natural Resources Agency, California

To ensure that the Legislature has the information necessary to meet the State's restoration goals and to plan for the State's future financial obligations related to mitigation, the Resources Agency should work with Fish and Wildlife and Water Resources to develop an estimate of the costs, adjusted for inflation, that the State may incur for fulfilling its financial obligations related to mitigation under the QSA. The Resources Agency should include this information in the feasibility study so the Legislature is fully aware of the estimated costs and timing of the State's future financial obligations.

Response

The Governor formed the Salton Sea Task Force in the Budget May Revision of 2015 to identify short, medium and long term actions for the Salton Sea. The Task Force has been meeting with stakeholders and Legislators concerning the Feasibility Study. Once developed, the actions will have cost estimates and anticipated timing for development. Because urgent needs at the Sea must be immediately addressed, and because there are existing funding limitations, it is most likely that the portion of the study focused on expected future conditions will only focus on the Sea itself rather than the expanded area beyond the Sea that is covered by the QSA. For the Sea, the feasibility study will update cost estimates for anticipated actions to address both potential health and ecosystem impacts of the QSA and the natural overall long-term degradation of water quality there. These actions will encompass many of the same types of projects that QSA participating agencies will need to fund in order to meet their mitigation liabilities.

Concurrently, the Department of Fish and Wildlife is also working with partners from the federal government and the state of Arizona to implement the Lower Colorado River Basin Multiple Species Plan (LCRBMS). While this effort encompasses a greater project area than that covered by the QSA, the actions address the health and ecosystem impacts of the QSA which are provided by the LCRBMS and have been attributed current cost estimates.

Together, both cost estimates derived by the feasibility study and projects developed for the LCRBMS will provide the information necessary to generally forecast total mitigation liabilities for QSA signatories. However, in order to provide a final determination of liability, these cost estimates will need to be aggregated with actual impacts of QSA implementation and the results of the implementation of different types of projects that will be tested through state and local pilot projects.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Pending
  • Estimated Completion Date: September 2015
  • Response Date: September 2015

Current Status of Recommendations

All Recommendations in 2015-041