Environmental Preservation of a Man-Made Lake

Environmentalists are working to preserve another priceless natural treasure, one that has been on this earth supporting its habitat for, uh, decades.  From the Save the Salton Sea web site:

proposed transfer of water from the Imperial Valley to San Diego as
part of the reduction of California's Colorado River use, the possible
reclamation of New River water by Mexico, and the increased evaporation
from the Sea's restoration all threaten to reduce lake levels.  The
proposed transfer of the 300,000 acre feet alone, if inflows are not
replaced, is estimated to drop lake levels by over 16 feet, exposing
almost 70 square miles of sediments.  The result could be potential air
quality problems caused by blowing dust, seaside homes stranded far
from the Sea, and greatly accelerated concentrations of salts and

Of course its freaking drying up.  In a sense, this lake represents the United States' largest industrial spill, as early in the 20th century a couple of Colorado River aqueducts broke and poured water into the Salton basin, creating a brand new sea.  By usual environmentalist arguments, this lake is supposed to dry up, having been an artificial creation of man.  (By the way, as an extra credit task, I challenge you to find anywhere in the web site linked above where they mention that the lake is a man-made accident that is barely 100 years old).

HT:  Maggies Farm


  1. tim:

    Everybody loves a masquerade. I had a friend that worked as a consultant to the big evil power companies radio tagging salmon on the connecticut river. The concept was to return salmon to a river that had been dammed for power (mechanical and then electrical) since the early 1700's. There was a group of "concerned citizens" that called themselves "friends of the connecticut river" who's goals looked like environmental concerns until you started to read between the lines. It seems that their plan was to limit the number of docks and public access to the river so that their view was more serene. They didn't want the jet-ski's and power boats. They also thought that if you kept people from being able to put docks into the river by leveraging the DNR then the people who were "granfathered" in would see a tidy increase in the value of their property. Guess who the "friends" was sponsored by? The people who were granfathered in...

    My guess is that these people that are concerned about the salton sea are more concerned about their beachfront property becoming desertfront property and they need the environmental edge to not look like glad-handing, self-serving, rent seekers.

  2. steep:

    Baptists and Bootleggers all over again.

  3. la petite chou chou:

    Yes. It looks cool, but isn't it simply the result of all kinds of agricultural runoff? Yes. The only reason it is there is because the agricultural areas are STILL running off! Haha. I think the whole thing is hilarious because to save the sea, they must essentially encourage pollution!

  4. napablogger:

    Exactly right about the ag run off, I am a farmer and I actually went to a meeting with the head of the farm bureau down there who told us that the Salton Sea was now the result of ag runoff. There are high levels of selenium and some other pollutants going into the water that they are trying to cut back.

  5. trav.is:

    The lake isn't new by any measure. The basin exists naturally as a result of the San Andreas fault running right near it. There is evidence suggesting it has held water at least 4 previous times. They naturally dried up with evaporation. As a local, I say let the damn thing dry up. Since the current version wasn't created by nature, it isn't supposed to be there. It has a salinity of about 40% - saltier than the ocean. The only fish that can live there are tilapia, and we just had a huge die-off 3 months ago.

    The New River feeds it. The New River, flowing thru Mexicali, is the most polluted river of its size in North America. The lake is, in a word, disgusting.

    I, too, find it interesting that environmentalists would advocate the saving of a body of water that is the result of an enormous environmental disaster.

  6. Jim:

    It is mentioned as a man-made lake on the web site - but it is only mentioned in that context as a myth: http://www.saltonsea.ca.gov/about/myth.htm..

  7. Joseph:

    The Medowlands near NYC are also anthropogenic. Much of the current marshes were cedar forests 500 years ago. Clear cutting got rid of the trees, and damming upstream for reserviors slowed the waterflow.

  8. David Gillies:

    As an aside, I think it's just darling that you Americans are still using acre feet as a volumetric measurement in the 21st C.. I just want to squeeze you gorgeous, tow-headed, SI-resistant little sillies to my bosom.

    The main point stands, of course. This is about as stupid as regional environmentalism gets, which is to say: very.

    N.B. one acre foot ~ 1233.48 m^2

  9. David Gillies:

    Errm, meters cubed of course...

  10. T:

    They address the issue here, on the right hand side:


  11. la petite chou chou:

    But it's certainly a LOT easier to say one acre foot than to say 1233.48 m^2.

    Also, the math is easier.