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The Amazing Life of the Salton Sea…

The Salton Sea is the longest enduring and largest single object ever created by the hand of humankind.  And it was a complete accident.

The sea has existed for more than a century as a testimony to the hubris of our nation.  But today its future is uncertain.

In the Beginning there was only Desert…

At the start of the twentieth century, the area occupied by the Salton Sea in southern California, USA was known as the Colorado Desert.  During that period, efforts were underway in many parts of the United States to transform arid regions of the country into productive farmland.  But these endeavors required copious amounts of water.  In southern California there was an abundant supply of water available from the nearby Colorado River.  But as it always seems to be, there was a problem.  Although the river could supply more than enough water to transform the desert into verdant farmland, a gap of more than fifty miles (50 km) separated the soon to be named Imperial Valley from the precious water.  A method to transport water into the valley was needed.

And then came the Flood…

In a little more than a year, a canal system was constructed to bridge the distance between the Colorado River and the Imperial Valley.  Once complete, water flowed through the canals creating hundreds of thousands of acres of fertile farmland.  The valley grew at a tremendous rate for several years, but there was trouble on the horizon.  Large amounts of silt carried by the Colorado River clogged the newly created canal system. This severely reduced the amount of water that could be supplied to the farms in the Imperial Valley.  Crops that were dependent on the water for survival were in peril.  Initial attempts to solve the water shortage failed.  In desperation, a temporary channel was dug to bypass the silted canal sections.  Although this solved the water shortage issues, it also laid the foundation for events that gave birth to the

Death on the Horizon…

Today the Salton Sea faces extinction.  The lifeline of water that has fed it for more than a century is being diverted to satisfy the unquenchable thirst of cities on the Pacific coast of California.  In just a few years the sea may cease to exist.

During its life the Salton Sea has provided habitats for birds, fish, and other wildlife.  For many decades it offered a variety of activities to enjoy, including swimming, boating, and other recreational pursuits.  It has been a kind host to countless people including presidents, celebrities, and even Elvis.

If the Salton Sea is allowed to die, it will be a truly sad day and the people of California will have lost a genuine treasure.

This website is dedicated to the countless individuals who have lived, worked, played, explored, and experienced the majesty of the Salton Sea.

 

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Life of the Salton Sea