> Contact: Julia Levin > 510/558-0125 > jlevin@xxxxxxxxxxx > > CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE PASSES BILLS TO RESTORE SALTON SEA > > National Audubon Applauds Action of State Lawmakers - > Restoration of California> '> s Largest Lake will Benefit Birds, Wildlife, > and Economy > > Sacramento, CA, September 11, 2003 - Today, Audubon praised California> '> s > Legislature for passing legislation to restore the Salton Sea, California's > largest lake and home to more than 400 bird species, half of all species > found in the United States and Canada. After more than a year of intense > negotiations, water agencies, environmental groups, Native Americans, and > local communities reached a historic agreement to include Salton Sea > restoration in the water transfer agreement. The bills passed today with > strong bipartisan support. > > "> Governor Davis and the Legislature deserve tremendous praise for making > Salton Sea restoration a centerpiece of this agreement,> "> said Executive > Director of Audubon California Gerald Secundy. > "> The Salton Sea is > internationally significant, providing homes for migratory birds from > throughout the Americas, as well as species unique to the lower Colorado > River ecosystem. Protecting the great natural heritage embodied by the Sea > is all the more critical since California has lost most of the birds> '> > traditional habitat.> "> > > This historic water transfer agreement establishes an important precedent for > future agreements by requiring that transfer parties, rather than the public, > pay environmental mitigation costs. Audubon and others originally opposed > the transfer agreement because it included $200 million in public funds to > pay the mitigation costs. Requiring the parties to cover those costs allows > cheaper, more efficient transfers in the future and saves taxpayers hundreds > of millions of dollars. > > "> The water transfer agreement is now a win-win for taxpayers and the > environment,> "> said Julia Levin, State Policy Director for Audubon > California. > "> It begins the process of restoring critical habitat for > hundreds of bird species and other endangered species, while freeing up $200 > million of public funds that can now be used for the environmental and water > supply projects that voters called for when they passed Proposition 50.> "> > > The Salton Sea is located in the southeastern corner of California, which > occupies a desert basin known as the Salton Sink. Covering more than 376 > square miles, the Sea is actually the state> '> s latgest lake, bigger than > both Lake Tahoe and Mono Lake. > > Audubon is dedicated to protecting birds and other wildlife and the habitat > that supports them. Our national network of community-based nature centers > and chapters, scientific and educational programs, and advocacy on behalf of > areas sustaining important bird populations, engage millions of people of all > ages and backgrounds in positive conservation experiences. > > # # # > You are subscribed to Audubon-News. To unsubscribe, send email to audubon-news-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with 'unsubscribe' in the Subject field. To adjust other settings (vacation, digest, etc.) please visit, //www.freelists.org/list/audubon-news.