The lake's depth has dropped in recent years, creating exposed lake bed that generates dust. By 2018, the depth is expected to drop another 15 to 20 feet, exposing 140 square miles of lake bottom and its dust, Krantz said.
"That's yet another huge problem that's impending," he said. "There is hope, but something absolutely has to be done. It's not just about birds and wildlife anymore. It's about human health issues and averting a potential air pollution disaster."
The authority has a plan to save the sea, but has struggled for years to get funding and political muscle behind it. In 2006, various estimates put the cost between $3 billion and $9 billion, Schlange said.
The plan involves stabilizing the sea level by cutting the body of water in half and allowing part of it to dry up, he said. The dried lakebed could host extensive geothermal and solar fields that would mitigate the restoration cost and provide power for millions of homes.
Officials would then work to reduce the salinity in the remaining lake.
"It's exciting to think about trying to fix it, and it can be fixed," Schlange said. "What we need is for the public to understand ... that this is likely to happen more often as time goes on, and we need their support to find a way to finance and pay for this thing."
Strengthening breezes in the area Tuesday dissipated the smell, much to the relief of residents.
At the peak of the stench Monday, residents from Riverside County to the San Fernando Valley north of Los Angeles lit up switchboards and social media to make a stink about the stink. The district was flooded with more than 200 complaints from across much of its 10,000 square miles.
Associated Press writer Amy Taxin contributed to this report.
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