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Charter of the
Salton Sea Science Subcommittee

 

I. PURPOSE

The primary charge for the Science Subcommittee is to provide scientific evaluations and recommendations required to guide the NEPA/CEQA process to sound conclusions regarding alternative actions for mitigating current degradation of the Salton Sea ecosystem and restoring recreational, wildlife and economic values. The Subcommittee will function as a coordinated body to determine information gaps, identify science/information needs, and provide the Research Management Committee with recommendations for funding priorities. The Subcommittee also will serve as a focal point for coordination of scientific efforts by developing and maintaining an inventory of current studies being undertaken within the Salton Sea ecosystem, assuring the timely transmission and exchange of information obtained from studies funded by and through the Research Management Committee, and by preparing evaluations, technical briefings, presentations, and reports needed for maintaining an informed decision process for mitigation of environmental degradation occurring at the Sea.

 

II. ORGANIZATION

The Subcommittee will have a Chairperson appointed by consensus of the Research Management Committee and individual appointments of scientific/technical experts appointed by appropriate officials from each of the following agencies:

U.S. Geological Survey
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
California Department of Fish and Game
California Environmental Protection Agency
California Department of Water Resources
Salton Sea Authority
Torres Martinez Indian Tribe
Riverside County
Imperial County
Coachella Valley Water District
Imperial Irrigation District

III. PROCESS

The Chairperson will be the primary spokesperson for the Subcommittee and for the Research Management Committee for science issues associated with the Salton Sea. The Chair will organize meetings and other gatherings needed for the Subcommittee to carry out its work. Committee participation regarding travel and per diem will be funded by the representative agencies. Duration for appointment should parallel the NEPA/CEQA process. Committee members will not be eligible to receive Research Management Committee distributed funds awarded for the conduct of scientific investigations associated with this task nor are they to be individuals that directly supervise individuals receiving such funds. Should a member of the Science Subcommittee have a potential conflict of interest regarding a special funding decision, that individual will excuse/recuse himself from the discussions relating to that project.

 

1. Initial evaluation of proposed Salton Sea engineering alternatives to determine questions needing to be addressed and information gaps;

2. Compilation of existing scientific information relative to questions associated with proposed alternatives and increasing awareness of this information;

3. Framing and prioritizing science/information needs and critical time periods for obtaining information relative to decision processes associated with NEPA/CEQA;

4. Recommending science/information needs for funding support;

5. Evaluating proposals received for funding and ranking these proposals relative to their importance;

6. Coordination of projects funded by and through the Research Management Committee;

7. Timely information transfer of findings from projects funded by the Research Management Committee;

8. Preparation of reports and briefings;

9. Preparation of a directory of expertise addressing scientific issues at the Sea that can be shared among those with information needs to guide their science or deal with issues associated with the Sea;

10. Development of a process for soliciting science proposals and reviewing those proposals;

11. Participate in public input processes to gain further insights relative to shaping science needs for decision processes associated with alternatives being considered;

12. Evaluate existing Salton Sea ecosystem models and work with those involved for their enhancement and integration where appropriate;

13. Respond to requests from the Research Management Committee for specific scientific evaluations needed by the Committee; and

14. Development of a protocol for scientific baselines against which changes can be monitored to assess the impacts of management actions designed to address issues associated with the Sea.

The Subcommittee will seek out and utilize external expertise that may become needed in its evaluations of specific scientific issues. External parties may be invited to participate in Subcommittee meetings, requested to provide written evaluations, and participate in other ways.

The Subcommittee Chair will establish relations with university scientists, agencies, and others with active involvement in the Salton Sea to gain enhanced perspectives regarding the scientific issues and decision information needs involved. The Chair will also be the primary interface with the lead agencies involved in the NEPA/CEQA process on matters of scientific information needs and scientific evaluations.