Congress Introduces Bill to Coordinate River Restoration Efforts Between the United States and Mexico and to Protect the Salton Sea

March 2021

Environmental, Energy & Climate Change Law and Regulation Reporter, Volume 1, Number 6

On January 25, 2021, U.S. House of Representatives Members Raul Ruiz (CA-36) and Juan Vargas (CA-51) introduced HR 491, the “California New River Restoration Act of 2021,” which would direct the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish a federal restoration program for the California New River that flows from Mexico to the Salton Sea.


The Salton Sea is California’s largest lake, situated along the San Adreas Fault in southern California, between Imperial and Riverside counties. In addition to its size, the Salton Sea is notable for its low elevation (226 feet below sea level) and high salinity (25 percent higher than the Pacific Ocean). The Salton Sea serves as an important stopover for hundreds of species of migratory birds traversing the 5,000-mile Pacific Flyway and has been identified by the National Audubon Society as a bird area of global significance. It provides habitat for numerous listed species, including the desert pupfish, the brown pelican, and the Yuma clapper rail.

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