Salton Sea

Study Finds Local Salton Sea Residents Would Use Recreational Facilities at a Healthy Sea

Locals say outdoor recreational infrastructure at California’s largest lake would be an asset to the area.


 (Salton Sea, Calif., Aug. 16, 2023)—A majority of respondents in a recent survey investigating the feasibility of increased recreational infrastructure at the Salton Sea said that they would be frequent users if such trails, restrooms and other facilities were built. 

The survey – part of a larger study by Audubon California on the most appropriate potential public access points around the Sea – interviewed 671 residents of Brawley, Mecca and other nearby communities across various groups on their relationship with the Sea. Not surprisingly, water quality and dust exposed by the shrinking lake topped the list of obstacles that currently keep residents away, with more than half saying they travel to state or national parks for outdoor recreation. However, up to three quarters of respondents said that they would take advantage of lakeshore trails, picnic areas and other amenities if water quality and dust issues were resolved. 

“This study is part of amplifying the voices of local residents and ensuring that their needs are taken into account as the state moves forward with mitigation work at the Salton Sea,” said Daniel Orr, director of geospatial science for Audubon California and the study’s lead author. “Communities near the Salton Sea already suffer from a lack of outdoor access and from the Sea’s worst impacts: wind-blown dust and high rates of respiratory ailments. They should be the first to benefit from improvements there. The state’s Long Range Plan and Salton Sea Management Plan must consider what local communities want and include their voices before any projects are developed.” 

The study identified a number of areas around the Salton Sea as particularly suitable for public access infrastructure, including near Desert Shores, Salton Sea Beach, North Shore, Bombay Beach and at various points along the lake’s southern end. 

Jason Howe,; 415-595-9245 

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About Audubon  
The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Learn more at and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @audubonsociety. 


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