Saturday, December 17, 2011

Salton Sea...

The Salton Sea, only about an hour's drive east of my home, has long fascinated me.  It's man-made, the result of an accident early in the 20th century that sent the Colorado River pouring into the (then) Salton Sink (a dry ancient lake bed).  It's been slowly shrinking ever since the “leak” was fixed, as there's no natural source of water to sustain it.  As it evaporates, minerals and salts in the water are concentrated to the point where most forms of water life can't live in it.  Here's a collection of photos and videos showing the Salton Sea today.

The part about this that fascinates me is this: there are lots of people, many part of environmental movements, who don't realize that the Salton Sea is man-made and who think mankind is responsible for the current decline of the sea.  I have seen documentaries, advertisements, and even demonstrations based on this rather clear – but very widespread – misunderstanding.  If we (mankind) were actually going to put things “right” (e.g., back the way they were), then we'd find a way to pump all the water out of there and return it to a dry lake bed.

But the Salton Sea is now a prime piece of real estate for migratory birds, who were quick to take advantage of this inland sea suddenly appearing in the middle of the desert.  So now the Salton Sea is the subject of debate even within the well-informed parts of the environmental movements.  Should we return it to it's original dry lake bed status?  Or should we artificially sustain the new migratory bird habitat?

1 comment:

  1. I've thought about this for quite some time. I grew up about 10 miles from the Salton Sea, and my parents even have an old brochure from the 50s or 60s where the Salton Sea was pitched as the greatest ski resort, etc.. The fact of the matter is that right now.. it STINKS around there.

    I saw a documentary talking about building some pipeline to the Gulf of California, as a way to keep the salton sea "full".

    Now, personally, I think it'd be super cool to have a really nice lake in this area.. However if someone were to PROPOSE that we build a manmade lake in the middle of the desert, we'd have a bunch of environmentalists complaining about destroying the natural habitat..

    IMO, let someone buy the lake, fund a pipeline (or some way to keep it "full"), and turn it into a resort.. It'd keep the greenies happy by keeping the migration of the birds.. and someone would probably make a boatload of money by having the coolest "Desert lake" in the world. Unfortunately, it's probably going to turn into another government run debacle sucking away my tax money. Also, knowing the environmentalist nonsense happening about 2 miles away from the salton sea in the "BLM" areas used for offloading… it'll never happen.