University of California, Riverside

The EDGE Institute

Research Coalition

Minutes - Lake Cahuilla Research Coalition Meeting

27 July 2017 / 3:30PM / ROOM 2460H Geology


Marilyn Fogel, EDGE Director; Bobby Nakamoto, Graduate Student; Michael Anderson, Divisional Dean Agriculture and Natural Resources; Drew Story, Graduate Student; Chris Swarth, Earth Sciences Volunteer; Francesca Hopkins, Assistant Professor in Environmental Sciences; Dr. Andrew Bishop, Associate Professional Research EDGE Institute; Gordon Love, Professor in Earth Sciences; Konstantin Chouimiline, Graduate Student; Rebeccah Goldware (present for VCR Mike Pazzani), Chief of Staff Research and Economic Development; Jeanette Westbrook, Director Support EDGE Institute; Roya Bahreini, Assistant Professor in Environmental Sciences; Hoori Ajami, Assistant Professor in Environmental Sciences; Kingsley Odigie, Postdoctoral Researcher in Earth Sciences; Kaitlin Chell, Director of Federal Relations; Darrel Jenerette, Associate Professor in Botany & Plant Sciences; Nic Barth, Assistant Professor in Earth Sciences; Tim Lyons (Remote), Distinguished Professor in Earth Sciences; Sarah Simpson (Remote), Analyst in Earth Sciences

  • Introductions (30 minutes)

  • Breakout Session Past, Present and Future of Lake Cahuilla (45 minutes)

  • Discussion of research and funding options (30 minutes)

  • Summary and Refreshments (15 minutes)


Marilyn Fogel, Director of The Environmental Dynamics & Geo-Ecology (EDGE) Institute, held a meeting to discuss scientific opportunities for UC faculty, Staff and students to study the Past, Present and Future of the Salton Sea, as well as to discuss funding options for continued research in this important environmental area of California. This meeting was the first meeting for the “Lake Cahuilla Research Coalition Group.” A diverse group of people from different departments on campus attended. Attendees introduced themselves and gave a brief explanation of their background and how their expertise will be of use to this new coalition. After their brief introductions, the attendees divided into three groups emphasizing different time scales for study: the past, the present, and the future. They were given 45 minutes to brainstorm and gather information on what those time periods meant for ecological functioning of the Salton Sea region and possible government and private sources for funding potential work. As one group, we discussed our deliberations.

Past: This group discussed the historic and paleo-changes in the Lake Cahuilla system over the past 20,000 years, and how many times the lake had gone through wet/dry cycles in the past. They suggested using tree ring studies that could give us climatic insights depending on the tree ages. Sampling the sediments and soils material in the lake was suggested, with the resolution to dig trenches nearby in order to get more samples if needed. Funding opportunities discussed were reaching out to the California Water Board, UC MEXUS and UC MEXUS Collaborative Grant, NASA and NSF.

Present: This group discussed the endangered species, monitoring the area, and remediation of the area. They discussed the use of the mobile laboratory van that was recently purchased by both Prof. Hopkins and Fogel as a way to monitor the “breathing” of the ecosystem in the area. The mobile van that was purchased will be outfitted with laser isotope instruments that can measure carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane, and water vapor. Funding opportunities discussed were the possibility of using greenhouse gases as a way to start to obtain funding from Air Resources Board, NSF, or UC MEXUS Collaborative Grant. The group also keen on the idea of linking changes of sedimentation of the Colorado River on Lake Cahuilla to the mouth of the Gulf of California.

Future: This group discussed the problems regarding the climate, water, air quality and land use. Their main objective was how to try and make the area’s future better without focusing on the negatives. Their ideas for funding opportunities came from the USDA and the California Energy Commission. Hopkins spoke about her part in Joined California Climate Assessment, led by California Energy Commission that will summarize the climate change impacts in California. She will author the Inland Desert Region section, including the Salton Sea, which could be a great opportunity for the group and their findings to be included in the report. This report would be very influential in regards to funding priorities for the state, whatever is found in the group would be beneficial for both.

  1. Discussion of Outreach Options was discussed keeping the word out and having everything shared on the EDGE website was suggested as a way to keep the group relevant.

  2. Palm Desert Center and UCR main campus Speaker Series was suggested, with having three speakers focusing on a specific aspect i.e. past, present, future.

  3. Hopkins, Fogel, and Dr. Bishop will prepare a one page summary of their individual groups discussions.


Summary of Past: Lake Cahuilla Discussion

Summary of Present: Lake Cahuilla Discussion

Summary of Future: Lake Cahuilla Discussion 


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900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

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