Salton Sea, Mecca, California Gallery Index
Photographs by Jeffrey Sward  
 

The Salton Sea was created between 1905 and 1907 by an accidental breach in an irrigation channel from the Colorado River to the Imperial Valley.  The resulting flood created a sea which is currently 381 square miles.  For decades, a balance between evaporation and Imperial Valley agricultural runoff kept the size of the Salton Sea relatively stable.  The Salton Sea is 227 feet below sea level with no outlet.  During the stable period, the salinity of the Salton Sea was 120% of the salinity of seawater.  High nutrient content creates an excellent environment for algae, which turns parts of the lake a deep brown.  The Quantification Settlement Agreement (2003) includes an plan to transfer water that was historically used to irrigate farm fields near the Salton Sea to two Southern California water districts for residential uses. Reducing the amount of water available for agricultural uses in the Imperial Valley also has the effect of decreasing the amount of fresh water that runs off fields into the Salton Sea. Reduced agricultural runoff increases the rate at which the Salton Sea both shrinks and becomes more saline. Additionally, because the Salton Sea is a terminal lake with no outlet to the ocean, water that enters it can only depart through evaporation, leaving salts behind. The Salton Sea, therefore, will continue to become increasingly saline over time.

 
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Salton Sea, Mecca, California photogrpah by Jeffrey Sward Salton Sea, Mecca, California photogrpah by Jeffrey Sward Salton Sea, Mecca, California photogrpah by Jeffrey Sward Salton Sea, Mecca, California photogrpah by Jeffrey Sward
Salton Sea, Mecca, California photogrpah by Jeffrey Sward Salton Sea, Mecca, California photogrpah by Jeffrey Sward Salton Sea, Mecca, California photogrpah by Jeffrey Sward Salton Sea, Mecca, California photogrpah by Jeffrey Sward
Salton Sea, Mecca, California photogrpah by Jeffrey Sward Salton Sea, Mecca, California photogrpah by Jeffrey Sward Salton Sea, Mecca, California photogrpah by Jeffrey Sward Salton Sea, Mecca, California photogrpah by Jeffrey Sward
Salton Sea, Mecca, California photogrpah by Jeffrey Sward Salton Sea, Mecca, California photogrpah by Jeffrey Sward Salton Sea, Mecca, California photogrpah by Jeffrey Sward Salton Sea, Mecca, California photogrpah by Jeffrey Sward
Salton Sea, Mecca, California photogrpah by Jeffrey Sward      
 
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