I woke and hit the road for the Salton Sea. It was a 3.5 hour drive to get there. My route went through a super dooper windy road through hills of a previously burnt forest and fields. Then I hit Anza-Borrego State Park. Anza-Borrego is one place that I’ve always wanted to visit in the spring because it’s one of the best places for desert wildflowers in southern CA. However, since my itinerary was changed a bit due to being sick, I wasn’t going to be able to stop. But the view of the flowers from just the road was amazing! I saw a lot of Indian paintbrush, desert marigold, lupines, beavertail cacti flowers, cholla cacti, apricot mallow, sand verbena, and so much more…just from the car. I arrived at the Salton Sea and suddenly filled with excitement. I’d lived so close to this place for a couple of years, but I’d never been there. For years and years I’ve wanted to visit the Salton Sea. I was finally there!
The Salton Sea was accidentally created over 100 years ago and is now a huge ecological disaster. The New River, which flows north out of Mexico, provides the Salton Sea with the freshwater that it needs, but is also a huge threat to the Sea as well. As it flows, it has picked up agricultural run-off with pesticides, dead animals, industrial waste, and raw sewage. There are high levels of DDT and selenium that are residual within the silt bottom of the sea. The pile worms on the bottom eat the silt, which are then eaten by fish, which are eaten by birds. The New River is the most polluted river in the US. And since it flows north out of Mexico, many illegals will swim in the river, popping up for fresh air along the way. But Border Patrol won’t even touch them because they’re so dirty. ick! Anyway, the Salton Sea is 30% saltier than the ocean, which is the biggest risk to the wildlife and overall health of the Salton Sea. Coupled with the pollution brought by the New River, The Salton Sea is a key part to the Pacific flyway for some of the greatest bird populations in the world(over 400 species). The very very pricey Salton Sea Restoration Project will reduce the lake to a fifth its current size, but create ponds that would continue to support the wildlife species.
Seeing all of the effects of the pollution and salinity first hand was quite a site. In the photo below, you can see lines of brown, tan, and white: these are dead fish. BILLIONS of dead fish.
Afterwards, I drove to Palm Springs where I spent the night in a hotel. I didn’t get to spend nearly as much time in the Salton Sea as I wanted to. I could have easily spent weeks taking photos there. I must go back.