The Salton Sea is a shal­low salt lake locat­ed 226 feet below sea lev­el, occu­py­ing the low­est point of the Salton Basin in the Col­orado Desert in south­ern Cal­i­for­nia. With an aver­age sur­face area of ​​1,360 square kilo­me­ters, it is the largest lake in Cal­i­for­nia. Yet, just a cen­tu­ry ago, the lake did­n’t even exist. The Salton Sea (Salton Sea) was a vast geo­log­i­cal basin, com­plete­ly dry, which was often referred to as the “Col­orado Desert” dur­ing the Span­ish peri­od of Cal­i­for­nia his­to­ry. A flood in 1905 sent the Col­orado Riv­er into this depres­sion, and this process was stopped only two years lat­er, when the largest lake in Cal­i­for­nia had already formed.

salton sea

Entry relat­ed to loca­tion: USA

In 1900, the Cal­i­for­nia Con­struc­tion Com­pa­ny began build­ing irri­ga­tion canals to car­ry water from the Col­orado Riv­er to Slieve Salton. After the con­struc­tion of these irri­ga­tion canals, these lands became fer­tile for a time, allow­ing farm­ers to plant crops. In 1905, heavy rain and snowmelt over­whelmed the Col­orado Riv­er, rush­ing through chan­nels straight into the Salton Basin. The floods destroyed two dams and formed two new rivers that quick­ly flood­ed the val­ley. For about two years, these two new­ly cre­at­ed rivers—the New Riv­er and the Alamo River—carried the entire vol­ume of the Col­orado Riv­er to Salton. The basin filled, the city of Salton, the South­ern Pacif­ic Rail­road sid­ing, and the Indi­an land of Tor­res Mar­tinez were also flood­ed.
salton sea
Peri­od­ic flood­ing of the Impe­r­i­al Val­ley near the Col­orado Riv­er con­tin­ued. Ulti­mate­ly, this led to the con­struc­tion of the Hoover Dam in the 1930s and the flood­ing final­ly stopped. The Salton Sea is now fed by the New Rivers, White­wa­ter and Alamo, as well as drainage sys­tems and streams. An aver­age annu­al inflow of 1.68 cubic kilo­me­ters is suf­fi­cient to sup­port a max­i­mum depth of 52 feet and a total vol­ume of approx­i­mate­ly 9.3 cubic kilo­me­ters.

In 1950, fry of var­i­ous fish species were launched into the Salton Sea. A few species sur­vived and the Salton Sea quick­ly became a fish­er­man’s par­adise. With new fish, the Sea has also become a new stop­ping point for migra­to­ry birds. Over 400 species have been record­ed from the Salton Sea.

By 1960, the Salton Sea had grown into a resort with Salton City, Salton Sea Beach, and sev­er­al oth­er beach­es. Sev­er­al mul­ti-mil­lion dol­lar mari­nas and yacht clubs have sprung up around the coast­line. Golf cours­es began to appear every­where. Thou­sands of peo­ple gath­ered to watch the Salton Sea 500, a 500-mile speed­boat race.

The eco­nom­ic boom, how­ev­er, did not last long. Since the Salton Sea has no out­let for the salt and chem­i­cals dumped by the farm­land and indus­tri­al com­plex, their lev­els began to rise while the water lev­el remained the same, result­ing in increased con­cen­tra­tions of pes­ti­cides. Over the years, fish began to die in large mass­es, as did birds, accu­mu­lat­ing on the shore of the lake. When in the sum­mer of 1999, 7.6 mil­lion Tilapias died of oxy­gen star­va­tion caused by excess sea­weed, the author­i­ties real­ized that the sit­u­a­tion was dire. Their rot­ting remains poi­soned the Sea for more than ten years. Com­bin­ing with decay­ing sea­weed, there was a ter­ri­fy­ing smell.

In the late 1990s, the Salton Sea Author­i­ty, the local joint pow­ers agency, and the US Recov­ery Bureau began mak­ing attempts to save the Salton Sea. Many options have been pro­posed, includ­ing piped water from the sea to a wet­land in Mex­i­co to remove excess salt, oth­ers have opt­ed to bring in more water from the Gulf of Cal­i­for­nia to dilute the salt. Oth­ers believe that the only way to save the Sea by clean­ing it up and pre­serv­ing it as a valu­able part of the Pacif­ic Migra­tion Route is to build pools of evap­o­ra­tion in its north­ern half as a way to desali­nate the water.

Per­haps the Salton Sea is des­tined to dry up like a giant pud­dle on the side­walk. But geol­o­gists have found evi­dence that proves that the val­ley was alter­nate­ly a fresh­wa­ter lake and a dry basin with a desert in a cycle that repeat­ed count­less times over hun­dreds of thou­sands of years. The cre­ation of the lake in 1905 was sim­ply the last nat­ur­al cycle. How­ev­er, this time humans inter­vened and the ecosys­tem changed, per­haps for­ev­er.

See also
Resorts of Western Ukraine, which are even better than the sea

Per­haps some­one will see here a par­al­lel with the Aral Sea and its dry­ing up, but in any case, human inter­ven­tion most often leads to neg­a­tive con­se­quences.