Searles Lake


map showing spill location in south eastern Sierras
Spill Location.
A bird coverd in mineral deposits
  • 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


Michael Anderson
Phone: (916) 375-6672

Office of Spill Prevention and Response
Mailing: P.O. Box 944209, Sacramento, CA 94244-2090
(916) 375-8580 for OSPR Information

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(800) 852-7550 or (800) OILS-911

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