California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Graphic California map showing the locations of Searles spill A bird coverd in mineral deposits

Searles Valley Minerals / Searles Lake

  • LOCATION: Searles Dry Lake, near Trona, San Bernardino County
  • DATE: Chronic and continuing.
  • INCIDENT SUMMARY: Hypersaline industrial wastewater is discharged into several large ponds. Migrating birds stopping at the ponds have died from salt toxicosis, salt encrustation, oiling, and possibly other causes.
  • RESPONSIBLE PARTY: Searles Valley Minerals (formerly IMC Chemicals)
  • NATURAL RESOURCE TRUSTEES: California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, Lahonton Regional Water Quality Control Board.
  • RESOURCES IMPACTED: Birds (over 2,000 collected Jan 2000 through July 2005, primarily loons, grebes, and waterfowl).
  • SETTLEMENT DETAILS: The trustees settled the case using a mitigation plan approved under DFG Code 3005. The mitigation plan allows for the continuing take of birds (not to exceed an average of 241 birds/year) in exchange for continued bird protection and rescue efforts and a contribution of up to $550,000 (plus $10K/year for maintenance for 40 years) for a 100+ acre wetlands creation project at the south end of Owens Lake.
  • STATUS OF RESTORATION: Restoration completed.

Available Documents

Contact Information

Steve Hampton
Phone: (916)-323-4724

Web: Contact Web Editor

Page Last Updated: July 1, 2010