Target: Matthew Rodriquez, Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency
Goal: Prevent the disintegration of an important home to sea birds and fish
The Salton Sea in southeastern California was actually an accidental creation, the product of the Colorado River flooding weaker dikes. Now, however, it is performing a vital ecological function. As many as four hundred species of migrating birds come to feed among its wetlands – a rare and dwindling ecosystem in California and many parts of the world – attracted by an abundance of fish, in particular big fish like tilapia. The sea used to be a haven for fisherman and was even the site for weekend boating trips by celebrities like Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. However, due in part to the severe drought California has been struggling with and to the sale of parts of the Colorado River to coastal areas, the water has been gradually receding and increasing in salinity, making it a fatal habitat for fish species which in turn jeopardizes the survival of the migrating birds that feed on them.
Unfortunately, the increasing saltiness of its waters resulting in the lake’s rapid disintegration threatens the survival of the species that the ecosystem supports in addition to posing an environmental health risk – the dust from the drying lake can be inhaled by children, whose asthma rates are already among the highest in the state, according to an article in the New York Times. The persistent oxygen deprivation due to overgrowth of algae is also creating a foul-smelling odor akin to that of rotten eggs and caused by the decomposition of organic matter in the lake. Bore up by winds in the area, this smell can be blown up to one hundred fifty miles away to the city of Los Angeles.
By signing the petition below, you can urge California environment officials to lead the way in revitalizing and protecting this vital ecosystem before it is too late.
Dear Secretary Rodriquez,
I am writing in order to bring your attention to the desiccation of the Salton Sea in southeastern California. As you most likely already know, the sea, an accidental result of the Colorado River flooding smaller dikes, has come to be a sanctuary for more than four hundred species of migrating sea birds. Now, its increasing saltiness and desiccation threaten bird and fish species as well as the health of local communities, whose already high asthma rates can only be exacerbated by the steady stream of dust from the drying lake.
I urge you to bolster efforts to protect this vital ecosystem. I want to recognize current efforts taking place to preserve the Salton Sea, namely the series of small engineering projects to create an area of deep water to support large fish. It is my hope that making more funds available can further prevent this rest stop from disappearing entirely. Your leadership is essential to preserving this sanctuary and rest spot for a variety of species.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Rman 348 via Wikimedia Commons