The Salton Sea

explanatory Essay
5236 words
5236 words

The Salton Sea


The Salton Basin , a below-sea-level depression which extends on the north from Palm Springs , California, to the Gulf of California , in the south. The Salton Sea has undergone historic cycles of filling with water and later drying up. The most recent predecessor to the Sea, that being Lake Cahuilla , last filled this area between 300 to 500 years ago and at one time had a surface elevation above sea level. In 1905 the flooding of the Colorado River was accidentally diverted into the Salton though and thus the Salton Sea was born. When the Colorado River floods retreated in 1907, the surface elevation of the Salton Sea slowly began to drop until the 1930�s when agricultural drainage from the Imperial and Coachella Valleys sustained its level. Soon after , this Sea was turned into a state recreation area, wildlife refuge and a sport fishery. To this day, agricultural drainage and run-off is the major source of water inflow to the Salton Sea.

When it was Healthy

When the Sea was healthy it, drew recreationists from all around and was a popular sport fishing site. The marine level of salinity made it a great place to race boats and allowed for the introduction of salt water marine life. With all this attention the north side shore line soon became the Salton Sea State Recreation Area . Not only was this area attractive to people , but it was soon populated by birds and turned into a critical link for flocks of migratory birds along the Pacific Flyway. As a result , the Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge was established on the south end of the Sea in the 1950�s.(The Salton Sea Authority and the Bureau of Reclamation , 1997)

Current Conditions

Today the Salton Sea contains 7.3...

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4. Hunter, Duncan & Lewis, Jerry & Brown, George &Calvert, Ken(1998).Speaker Gingrich, Mary Bono join Salton Sea Task Force in unveiling "Sonny Bono Memorial Salton Sea Reclamation Act". Congressional Salton Sea Task Force.

5. Kellert, S.R. and E.O. Wilson, editors. 1993 The Biophilia Hypothesis. Island Press, Washington, DC

6. NEPA. 1998. The NEPA Fact Sheet. Online. Available

7. Salton Sea Authority and Bureau of Reclamation .1997. The Salton Sea : Opportunities and Challenges. A brochure.

8. Taylor, Dan. 1998. Audubon Society Inspired to Action by Bird Die -offs . 17 Jan. 1998 . E-mail . Available

9. The Salton Sea Authority and the California State Water Commission presentation of : Salton Sea Symposium II - various speakers. The Salton Sea - January 1998

In this essay, the author

  • Describes the salton basin, a below-sea-level depression that extends from palm springs to the gulf of california.
  • Describes the salton sea state recreation area as a popular sport fishing site, populated by birds, and migratory birds along the pacific flyway.
  • Explains that the salton sea contains 7.3 million acre-feet of water and has a water surface level of 227 feet below sea level. by the 1980s the water level rose greatly and gave way to abandoned businesses, deteriorating structures and empty beaches.
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