Salton Sea

Restoring the Salton Sea is critical for millions of migratory birds and the health of 650,000 regional residents.

Frank Ruiz, Director of Salton Sea Programs with Audubon California, looks out at the Salton Sea

The Salton Sea is one of the most important places for birds in North America and is in danger of losing its ecological value. As the Sea changes, we face losing a vital part of the Pacific Flyway and a toxic dust bowl that will threaten public health for more than a million Californians.

As part of the Colorado River Delta, the sea filled and dried for thousands of years prior to its current, 35-mile-long incarnation, which came into existence as the result of a massive flood of the Colorado River in 1905. The 330-square-mile Sea has partially replaced wetland habitat lost to agricultural and urban conversion in the Colorado River Delta, California’s coast, and the San Joaquin Valley.

The Sea is a globally significant Important Bird Area (IBA). For the past century, the Sea has served as a major nesting, wintering, and stopover site for millions of birds of approximately 400 species. Until recent years, tiny Eared Grebes wintered by the thousands in rafts far out on its surface. American White Pelicans roosted on mudflats and fished for tilapia in its shallows.  Migratory shorebirds stopped to migrate and feed along the Sea’s edge. Today’s avifauna is shifting – the Sea is losing the fish-eating birds such as pelicans and cormorants because fish populations are disappearing.  Eared Grebes, who have fed on pile worms, are also declining rapidly, from millions to several thousand. Shorebirds, however, that feast on invertebrates along the shore edges, as well as shallow feeding ducks such as Northern Shoveler and Ruddy Duck, are still wintering at, or passing along the Sea, in massive numbers.

Recently, its water level dropped to the point that colonial seabirds began abandoning nesting sites en masse in 2013, and shallow, marshy habitat areas at the sea’s edge have begun to rapidly vanish, particularly at the south end. In 2017, inputs of Colorado River water were transferred from local agricultural uses to urban uses on the coast. As less water flowed into the Sea, it shrunk considerably, becoming more saline and inhospitable to birds, fish, and insects.

We must take immediate action at the Salton Sea to protect human health and establish viable habitat for millions of migratory birds.

State Habitat Restoration Project Breaks Ground at Southern End of Salton Sea
Press Center

State Habitat Restoration Project Breaks Ground at Salton Sea

Coalition of conservation and community groups says groundbreaking is positive step towards ending years of inaction at California’s largest lake.

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Bombay Beach Wetland
Bombay Beach Wetland

Bombay Beach Wetland

Audubon California has begun the planning phase for the restoration and enhancement of the newly emerging Bombay Beach Wetland, located by the town of Bombay Beach at the Salton Sea.

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Proyecto de Humedales de Bombay Beach
Proyecto de Humedales de Bombay Beach

Proyecto de Humedales de Bombay Beach

Cómo un humedal emergente en la Laguna Salton Sea ofrece nuevas esperanzas para las aves migratorias y las comunidades locales.

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Salton Sea Information and Resources
Salton Sea

Salton Sea Information and Resources

Discover the data and resources about the habitats and changes happening at the Salton Sea from across the network.

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Torres-Martinez Desert Cahuilla Common Birds Guide
Salton Sea

Torres-Martinez Desert Cahuilla Common Birds Guide

Our new, downloadable pocket field guide features some birds of the Coachella Valley that are culturally significant to the Cahuilla people of the Torres-Martinez Band.

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Guía de aves comunes de los Cahuilla del Desierto Torres-Martínez
Salton Sea

Guía de aves comunes de los Cahuilla del Desierto Torres-Martínez

Estamos estrenando nuestra nueva, descargable guía de campo de algunas aves del Valle de Coachella, las cuales son culturalmente importante para los Cahuilla.

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Roadmap for protecting bird habitat at the Salton Sea
Salton Sea

Roadmap for protecting bird habitat at the Salton Sea

Research about how much habitat -- and what kind -- birds are using at the Salton Sea should guide restoration.

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Groups Seek Faster Progress from State, More Community Participation in Salton Sea Plans
Salton Sea

Groups Seek Faster Progress from State, More Community Participation in Salton Sea Plans

Nearby communities, threatened wildlife have no time for further delays

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No Time Left for Delays at the Salton Sea
Salton Sea

No Time Left for Delays at the Salton Sea

Sixty years after its mid-century heyday, California's largest lake is declining rapidly.

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Eyes on the Sea
Salton Sea

Eyes on the Sea

Communities around the Salton Sea are working together to protect human health and conserve critical bird habitats

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Birds of the Salton Sea
Salton Sea

Birds of the Salton Sea

More than 400 species of birds come to the Salton Sea in California.

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New online map for birding the Salton Sea
Audublog

Explore the birds of the Salton Sea

New interactive map shows you the best places to view birds at the Salton Sea.

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More about the Salton Sea

Salton Sea

Propuesta de ley ampliaría participación federal en esfuerzos de restauración en la Laguna Salton

La legislación del Congresista Raúl Ruiz permitiría la Oficina de Reclamación trabajar con el estado y liberar cientos de millones de dólares del gobierno federal

Un mar en descomposición
Salton Sea

Un mar en descomposición

Proliferación de algas es otra señal más de la aceleración de un catástrofe

Bill Would Increase Federal Participation in Salton Sea Restoration Efforts
Salton Sea

Bill Would Increase Federal Participation in Salton Sea Restoration Efforts

Legislation by Rep. Raul Ruiz would permit Bureau of Reclamation to partner with state and free up hundreds of millions of dollars from the U.S. government.

Valley Voice: The Salton Sea, long a disaster, is on the brink of a major collapse
Salton Sea

Valley Voice: The Salton Sea, long a disaster, is on the brink of a major collapse

Algal blooms yet another sign of accelerating catastrophe

Groups Seek Faster Progress from State, More Community Participation in Salton Sea Plans
Salton Sea

Groups Seek Faster Progress from State, More Community Participation in Salton Sea Plans

— Nearby communities, threatened wildlife have no time for further delays
Hope at the Salton Sea
Bombay Beach Wetland

Hope at the Salton Sea

Audubon California releases report detailing emerging wetlands at the Salton Sea.

State Habitat Restoration Project Breaks Ground at Southern End of Salton Sea
Press Center

State Habitat Restoration Project Breaks Ground at Salton Sea

— Coalition of conservation and community groups says groundbreaking is positive step towards ending years of inaction at California’s largest lake.
Fall, 2020 at the Salton Sea
Salton Sea

Fall, 2020 at the Salton Sea

Shifting populations -- plus a few surprise visitors

Otoño, 2020 en la laguna Salton Sea
Water

Otoño, 2020 en la laguna Salton Sea

Poblaciones cambiantes -- además de algunos visitantes sorpresa

Environmental Groups: Federal Bill Would Bring "Much Needed Relief" to Salton Sea
Water

Environmental Groups: Federal Bill Would Bring "Much Needed Relief" to Salton Sea

— Salton Sea Public Health and Environmental Protection Act would streamline federal response at California’s largest lake

How you can help, right now