Salton Sea restoration must worsen not climate change

If we’re not careful, the well-intentioned effort to restore the Salton Sea could have serious adverse consequences: large emissions of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.

A recent report by Jenny Ross, an attorney and writer working on a long-term research project about the Salton Sea, warns that many of the proposed long-range restoration plans will cause large emissions of carbon dioxide and methane.

Studies of other drying lakes around the world have found these atmosphere-warming gasses come from large deposits of carbon-rich organic matter that were trapped and secured under deep water, and are later released from the exposed dry lakebed. Emissions increase with shallow water habitats and from exposed lake beds that are further disturbed by “furrowing” used as a dust control measure.

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