Lake at stake

Is the Salton Sea worth $6.9 billion?

That’s the question California lawmakers will be asking when the state Water Resources Department unveils its draft plan to save the shrinking body of water.

With more and more water being diverted from the Colorado River, the giant lake in the Imperial Valley is set to lose 60 percent of its volume within the next 20 years. The lake is a critical stopover along the Pacific Flyway for many migratory birds, including nearly 50 endangered and sensitive species such as the California brown pelican.

The Water Resources Department’s plan calls for a smaller Salton Sea that would be aided by barriers to corral its water. The final version will be submitted to the Legislature within the next couple weeks.