Site loading image


Supporting Habitat Restoration for Fish and Wildlife at the Salton Sea

Environmental permitting and compliance solutions for a first of its kind, large scale restoration project

Located in Southern California, the Salton Sea is one of the world’s largest inland saline lakes with a salinity greater than that of the ocean. Over the course of its 100-year existence, it has become a critical resource for many species of wildlife and has been ranked as the third most important shorebird habitat west of the Rocky Mountains. The Salton Sea has been shrinking in recent years, and as it continues to recede, the exposed lakebed reduces habitat for fish and wildlife and creates dust that becomes airborne, negatively impacting the air quality for nearby communities.


The exposure of the lakebed is causing airborne diseases to circulate to nearby communities. As the environmental conditions in the area continue to worsen, habitat loss will eventually affect species that are listed as endangered, threatened, or special concern. Some of these species include the desert pupfish (Cyprinodon macularius), burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia), California black rail (Laterallus jamaicensis coturniculus), least bell’s vireo (Vireo bellii pusillus) and yuma ridgway’s rail (Rallus obsoletus yumanensis). To protect these critical wildlife species and improve the air quality for local residents, the State of California is in the process of developing three habitat ponds that will restore over 4,000 acres of shallow water habitat when complete. However, since the lands in and around the Salton Sea are a complex patchwork of ownership spread across different entities, the permit process involves working closely with multiple regulatory and local agencies.


TRC is supporting the compliance team that oversees permitting-related requirements and procedures and environmental studies for the habitat restoration plan. Some of the work TRC’s environmental team have performed includes amending existing environmental permits consistent with Section 404/401 of the Clean Water Act, Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Lake and Streambed Alteration Agreement and Section 106 of the Historic Preservation Act. We help maintain compliance with all the project’s requirements mandated by federal, state and local agencies.

TRC is Performing the Following Technical Tasks:

  • Environmental Compliance Monitoring
  • Pupfish Monitoring
  • Cultural Resources Monitoring
  • Environmental Permitting
  • Geographic Data Analysis


The work performed by highly skilled biologists, archeologists and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) planners has helped determine the project’s direct and indirect impacts to the Waters of U.S. and assisted in developing CEQA consistency findings.

When complete, this first-of-its-kind large-scale restoration project will result in the construction of a network of ponds with islands which will provide habitat for a variety of wildlife and contribute to the reduction of exposed lakebed, leading to less dust emissions and better air quality for local communities.

Projects With Purpose

TRC's work with clients across the globe supports and enhances our communities and environment in significant ways. Learn more about how we are making the world a better place, one project at a time.

Learn More →

Looking for effective solutions to your problems?

Turn to the experts at TRC.

By clicking "Accept", you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. Read our Privacy Policy.