Report 2013-101 All Recommendation Responses

Report 2013-101: Salton Sea Restoration Fund: The State Has Not Fully Funded a Restoration Plan and the State's Future Mitigation Costs Are Uncertain (Release Date: November 2013)

Recommendation for Legislative Action

To ensure that the feasibility study it recently funded will provide it with meaningful and timely information, the Legislature should enact legislation that contains specific guidance to the Resources Agency regarding the Legislature's priorities for restoring the Salton Sea so that the Resources Agency can address those priorities when developing the feasibility study.

Description of Legislative Action

Legislation has not been introduced to address this recommendation.

  • Legislative Action Current As-of: October 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: No Action Taken


Description of Legislative Action

Legislation has not been introduced to address this recommendation.

  • Legislative Action Current As-of: March 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: No Action Taken


Description of Legislative Action

AB 148 (Perez) is pending in the Senate.

  • Legislative Action Current As-of: February 2014

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Legislation Introduced

AB 148 (V. Perez, 2013) states legislative intent regarding Salton Sea restoration and would eliminate the requirement that the Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency and the Legislature have final approval for any proposed restoration plan. This bill would also authorize the Salton Sea Authority to undertake a feasibility study, in consultation with the Secretary.


Recommendation for Legislative Action

To ensure that the feasibility study it recently funded will provide it with meaningful and timely information, the Legislature should enact legislation that provides a deadline for the completion of the feasibility study and submission of a restoration plan.

Description of Legislative Action

Legislation has not been introduced to address this recommendation.

  • Legislative Action Current As-of: October 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: No Action Taken


Description of Legislative Action

Legislation has not been introduced to address this recommendation.

  • Legislative Action Current As-of: March 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: No Action Taken


Description of Legislative Action

N/A

  • Legislative Action Current As-of: February 2014

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Unknown


Recommendation for Legislative Action

To ensure that the feasibility study it recently funded will provide it with meaningful and timely information, the Legislature should enact legislation that requires the feasibility study to analyze and include the extent to which restoration activities could lessen the State's future financial obligations for mitigation under the QSA.

Description of Legislative Action

Legislation has not been introduced to address this recommendation.

  • Legislative Action Current As-of: October 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: No Action Taken


Description of Legislative Action

Legislation has not been introduced to address this recommendation.

  • Legislative Action Current As-of: March 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: No Action Taken


Description of Legislative Action

N/A

  • Legislative Action Current As-of: February 2014

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Unknown


Recommendation for Legislative Action

To ensure that the feasibility study it recently funded will provide it with meaningful and timely information, the Legislature should enact legislation that once it has approved a restoration plan, it should hold a budget hearing to consider the appropriate funding mechanism.

Description of Legislative Action

Legislation has not been introduced to address this recommendation.

  • Legislative Action Current As-of: October 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: No Action Taken


Description of Legislative Action

Legislation has not been introduced to address this recommendation.

  • Legislative Action Current As-of: March 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: No Action Taken


Description of Legislative Action

N/A

  • Legislative Action Current As-of: February 2014

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Unknown


Recommendation for Legislative Action

The Legislature should designate the Resources Agency as the implementing entity responsible for coordinating the efforts of all entities involved in the restoration and mitigation activities for the Salton Sea.

Description of Legislative Action

Legislation has not been introduced to address this recommendation.

  • Legislative Action Current As-of: October 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: No Action Taken


Description of Legislative Action

AB 148 (V. Perez) is pending in the Senate.

  • Legislative Action Current As-of: February 2014

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Legislation Introduced

AB 148 (V. Perez, 2013) would require the Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency, in consultation and coordination with the Salton Sea Authority, to lead the Salton Sea restoration efforts. This bill would also authorize the Salton Sea Authority to undertake a feasibility study, in consultation with the Secretary.


Recommendation #6 To: Natural Resources Agency, California

To ensure that the Legislature has the information necessary to meet the State's restoration goals and to plan for the State's future financial obligations related to mitigation, the Resources Agency should work with Fish and Wildlife and Water Resources to do the following:
-Provide a written report to the Legislature on its recommendations for the content of the feasibility study no later than February 1, 2014. It should include in the report the State's progress to date on the Habitat Project.

6-Month Agency Response

Legislative staff from relevant committees and members were emailed by Natural Resources Agency Deputy Secretary of Legislation, Keali'i Bright, with a review of what was being proposed for the report and an update on the progress of the habitat projects. Legislative staff did not inquire on any further detail following the notice.

  • Completion Date: March 2014
  • Response Date: June 2014

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Fully Implemented

Although the Resources Agency did not provide a written report to the Legislature as we recommended, it did provide an update to certain legislative staff by way of e-mail in March 2014. In addition, the Resources Agency provided to legsialtive staff a powerpoint presentation that contained an update on the Species Conservation Habitat Project. Further, the Resources Agency also provided a draft of its Salton Sea Funding and Feasibility Review Work Plan, which included the proposed contents of the work plan. Thus, we conclude that this recommendation is fully implemented.


60-Day Agency Response

The Natural Resources Agency will provide a written report to the Legislature on its recommendations for the content of the feasibility study when scoping is complete, which is anticipated to be by the end of March, 2014. The update will include an update on all activities at the sea, including the habitat project and other projects funded by the state.

  • Estimated Completion Date: April 1, 2014
  • Response Date: March 2014

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Pending


Recommendation #7 To: Natural Resources Agency, California

To ensure that the Legislature has the information necessary to meet the State's restoration goals and to plan for the State's future financial obligations related to mitigation, the Resources Agency should work with Fish and Wildlife and Water Resources to meet with the Legislature regularly to provide updates on the status of its restoration efforts and the feasibility study to ensure that the Legislature has the information necessary to make funding and other informed decisions.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From October 2016

The Governor formed the Salton Sea Task Force in the Budget May Revision of 2015 to identify short, medium and long term goals for the Salton Sea. The Task Force has been meeting with stakeholders and Legislators since that time on restoration and planning efforts including the Feasibility Study. Staff from the Natural Resources Agency has been updating legislative staff directly of these discussions as they progress.

  • Completion Date: September 2015

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Partially Implemented

We will continue to report this recommendation as partially implemented until the feasibility study is complete.

  • Auditee did not substantiate its claim of full implementation

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From September 2015

The Governor formed the Salton Sea Task Force in the Budget May Revision of 2015 to identify short, medium and long term goals for the Salton Sea. The Task Force has been meeting with stakeholders and Legislators since that time on restoration and planning efforts including the Feasibility Study. Staff from the Natural Resources Agency has been updating legislative staff directly of these discussions as they progress.

  • Completion Date: September 2015

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Partially Implemented

We will continue to report this recommendation as partially implemented until the feasibility study is complete.

  • Auditee did not substantiate its claim of full implementation

1-Year Agency Response

Natural Resources Agency and Salton Sea Authority staff continue to meet with legislative staff to discuss progress on the Salton Sea Funding and Feasibility Review currently underway by the Authority. It will be important to continue to involve legislative staff in this process until the anticipated completion date of the study in May, 2016.

  • Estimated Completion Date: May 2016
  • Response Date: November 2014

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Partially Implemented


6-Month Agency Response

Agency staff met with Budget Committee staff regarding proposed funding for implementation of the Habitat Projects in the 2014/15 budget. Staff were informed that the timeline for construction of the Habitat Ponds did not line up with proposed staffing proposals and the proposal was withdrawn. Staff will continue to be met with and updated on progress of activities at the Sea moving forward.

  • Completion Date: March 2014
  • Response Date: June 2014

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Partially Implemented

  • Auditee did not substantiate its claim of full implementation

60-Day Agency Response

Communication on the progress of restoration projects has been ongoing and the Resources Agency anticipates discussing the feasibility study with the Legislature one scoping is in a more complete state. The last time stakeholders and legislative staff were briefed on both the study and restoration projects was in December 10 and 11, 2013. At that time, the Natural Resources Agency, Department of Water Resources and Department of Fish and Wildlife met with stakeholders, including legislative staff, at the Salton Sea during a roundtable discussion and tour hosted by the Imperial Irrigation District. At the stakeholder meeting, staff provided updates on state led projects, state funded projects led by locals and the feasability study. This meeting was preceeded by a tour of the different project sites and the sea at large. The Resources Agency plans on updating the Legislature quarterly or more if requested or events require.

  • Estimated Completion Date: ongoing
  • Response Date: February 2014

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Pending


Recommendation #8 To: Natural Resources Agency, California

To ensure that the Legislature has the information necessary to meet the State's restoration goals and to plan for the State's future financial obligations related to mitigation, the Resources Agency should work with Fish and Wildlife and Water Resources to develop an estimate of the costs, adjusted for inflation, that the State may incur for fulfilling its financial obligations related to mitigation under the QSA. The Resources Agency should include this information in the feasibility study so the Legislature is fully aware of the estimated costs and timing of the State's future financial obligations.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From October 2016

The Governor formed the Salton Sea Task Force in the Budget May Revision of 2015 to identify short, medium and long term actions for the Salton Sea. The Task Force has been meeting with stakeholders and Legislators concerning the Feasibility Study. Once developed, the actions will have cost estimates and anticipated timing for development. Because urgent needs at the Sea must be immediately addressed, and because there are existing funding limitations, it is most likely that the portion of the study focused on expected future conditions will only focus on the Sea itself rather than the expanded area beyond the Sea that is covered by the QSA. For the Sea, the feasibility study will update cost estimates for anticipated actions to address both potential health and ecosystem impacts of the QSA and the natural overall long-term degradation of water quality there. These actions will encompass many of the same types of projects that QSA participating agencies will need to fund in order to meet their mitigation liabilities.

Concurrently, the Department of Fish and Wildlife is also working with partners from the federal government and the state of Arizona to implement the Lower Colorado River Basin Multiple Species Plan (LCRBMS). While this effort encompasses a greater project area than that covered by the QSA, the actions address the health and ecosystem impacts of the QSA which are provided by the LCRBMS and have been attributed current cost estimates.

Together, both cost estimates derived by the feasibility study and projects developed for the LCRBMS will provide the information necessary to generally forecast total mitigation liabilities for QSA signatories. However, in order to provide a final determination of liability, these cost estimates will need to be aggregated with actual impacts of QSA implementation and the results of the implementation of different types of projects that will be tested through state and local pilot projects.

  • Completion Date: September 2015

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Pending

We will not report this recommendation as fully implemented until the cost estimates are developed and included in the completed feasibility study.

  • Auditee did not address all aspects of the recommendation

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From September 2015

The Governor formed the Salton Sea Task Force in the Budget May Revision of 2015 to identify short, medium and long term actions for the Salton Sea. The Task Force has been meeting with stakeholders and Legislators concerning the Feasibility Study. Once developed, the actions will have cost estimates and anticipated timing for development. Because urgent needs at the Sea must be immediately addressed, and because there are existing funding limitations, it is most likely that the portion of the study focused on expected future conditions will only focus on the Sea itself rather than the expanded area beyond the Sea that is covered by the QSA. For the Sea, the feasibility study will update cost estimates for anticipated actions to address both potential health and ecosystem impacts of the QSA and the natural overall long-term degradation of water quality there. These actions will encompass many of the same types of projects that QSA participating agencies will need to fund in order to meet their mitigation liabilities.

Concurrently, the Department of Fish and Wildlife is also working with partners from the federal government and the state of Arizona to implement the Lower Colorado River Basin Multiple Species Plan (LCRBMS). While this effort encompasses a greater project area than that covered by the QSA, the actions address the health and ecosystem impacts of the QSA which are provided by the LCRBMS and have been attributed current cost estimates.

Together, both cost estimates derived by the feasibility study and projects developed for the LCRBMS will provide the information necessary to generally forecast total mitigation liabilities for QSA signatories. However, in order to provide a final determination of liability, these cost estimates will need to be aggregated with actual impacts of QSA implementation and the results of the implementation of different types of projects that will be tested through state and local pilot projects.

  • Completion Date: September 2015

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Pending

We will not report this recommendation as fully implemented until the cost estimates are developed and included in the completed feasibility study.

  • Auditee did not address all aspects of the recommendation

1-Year Agency Response

The Salton Sea Funding and Feasibility Study currently underway but the Natural Resources Agency and the Salton Sea Authority will look at all of the cost components to meeting air quality needs at the sea. When the Study is complete, expected in May 2016, those costs could be compared with expected impacts and expenditures from non state funds to attain an estimate of what potential fiscal costs the Sea may present to the state.

  • Estimated Completion Date: 2016
  • Response Date: November 2014

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Pending


6-Month Agency Response

The feasibility study will be looking at all of the cost components to meeting air quality needs at the sea. Once that report is complete, those costs could be compared with expected impacts and expenditures from non state funds to attain an estimate of what potential fiscal costs the Sea may present to the state.

  • Estimated Completion Date: June 2016
  • Response Date: June 2014

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Pending


60-Day Agency Response

The Natural Resources is still in the process of scoping the feasibility study with the Salton Sea Authority, stakeholders, and the legislature. Because urgent needs at the Sea must be immediately addressed, and because there are existing funding limitations, it is most likely that the portion of the study focused on expected future conditions will only focus on the Sea itself rather than the expanded area beyond the Sea that is covered by the QSA. For the Sea, the feasibility study will update cost estimates for anticipated actions to address both potential health and ecosystem impacts of the QSA and the natural overall long-term degradation of water quality there. These actions will encompass many of the same types of projects that QSA participating agencies will need to fund in order to meet their mitigation liabilities.

Concurrently, the Department of Fish and Wildlife is also working with partners from the federal government and the state of Arizona to implement the Lower Colorado River Basin Multiple Species Plan (LCRBMS). While this effort encompasses a greater project area than that covered by the QSA, where there is jurisdictional overlap, actions to address health and ecosystem impacts of the QSA are provided by the LCRBMS and have been attributed current cost estimates.

Together, both cost estimates derived by the feasibility study and projects developed for the LCRBMS will provide the information necessary to generally forecast total mitigation liabilities for QSA signatories. However, in order to provide a final determination of liability, these cost estimates will need to be aggregated with actual impacts of QSA implementation and the results of the implementation of different types of projects that will be tested through state and local pilot projects.

  • Estimated Completion Date: March 2015
  • Response Date: February 2014

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Pending

The Resources Agency states that it is most likely that the portion of the study focused on expected future conditions will only focus on the Sea itself rather than the expanded area beyond the Sea that is covered by the QSA. However, as stated in our recommendation, the Resources Agency should include in its feasibility study an estimate of the costs, adjusted for inflation, that the State may incur for fulfilling its financial obligations related to mitigation under the QSA. Thus, to the extent the Resources Agency includes a cost estimate in the feasibility study that is limited to the Sea itself, it should clearly explain the scope and limitations of this cost estimate.


All Recommendations in 2013-101

Agency responses received are posted verbatim.


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