The saga of the Sea is one of tangled government agencies, farmers whose crops cradle its shores, local Native American tribes, legislators, environmentalists, and private water utilities. It’s about politics, ecological frontiers, brutal ironies, and historical wounds still smarting. But more than anything else, it’s about water: those who get it, those who don’t, and those who outright loot it. The Salton Sea is the latest battle in the American water wars, and without drastic action, in a matter of years it will fall — and bring Southern California down with it.
A Whiff of the Future
A heinous rotten-egg smell settled into the surrounding areas of San Diego and Los Angelos, a stench more familiar to residents lining the Salton Sea, some 150 miles to the east. It was this 376-square-mile body of water, created by accident in the middle of the desert over a century ago, that belched up the fetid cloud. And such episodes will continue to plague Southern California as the collapse of the Salton Sea ecosystem accelerates over the coming years.
Considered to be among the world’s most vital avian habitats and — until recently — one of its most productive fisheries, the Salton Sea is in a state of wild flux, the scene of fish and bird die-offs of unfathomable proportions. It was the resulting sea-bottom biomass that storms churned, releasing gases.
This episode in the Salton Sea’s long, painful history of sickness and health…
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