Greetings from the Salton Sea: Folly and Intervention in the Southern California Landscape, 1905-2005
The Salton Sea is a man-made catastrophe, redolent with the smell of algae and decomposing fish. Nevertheless, the lake's vast, placid expanses continue to attract birdwatchers, tourists and artists. In Greetings from the Salton Sea, photographer Kim Stringfellow explores the history of California's largest lake from its disastrous beginnings—the "sea" was formed when Colorado River levees broke and spilled into a depression 280 feet below sea level—to its heyday as a desert paradise in the 1950s and its current state as an environmental battleground.
Like the 400-plus species of birds that use the lake as a halfway point in their annual migration, developers flocked to the water too: they planted palm trees, built golf courses, and hired showstoppers such as the Beach Boys to perform at area resorts. These days, politicians seek to redirect the lake's only source of replenishment—agricultural runoff from surrounding farms—to water golf courses and green lawns elsewhere. Greetings from the Salton Sea's photographs capture the war among policymakers, environmentalists, developers, and the individuals still living along the lake's shores. As Stringfellow aptly documents, it is a war for water and, ultimately, for existence.
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ABANDONED TRAILER agricultural runoff Alamo River American Places area's avian basin Bombay Beach bombing Bono Salton Sea border Boris Kuperman botulism canal Center for American City Golf Course Coachella Valley Coachella Valley Historical Colorado River DeBuys and Myers desert Desi Arnaz die-offs Diego State University Draft Preferred Project environment environmental eutrophic feet below sea fish-eating birds flood Gulf of California habitat Hell's Kitchen Holly Corporation hyper-salinized Imperial Irrigation District Imperial Valley Jack Crayon Kim Stringfellow Laflin MARINA Mexicali miles million Milton Friend Motel and Mobil Mullet Island North Lake Plan North Shore numbers Pacific percent population Preferred Project Report proposals Restoration Project salinity salt Salton City Golf Salton Sea Authority Salton Sea Beach Salton Sea National Salton Sea Restoration Salton Sink Salvation Mountain San Diego Sea National Wildlife sea's sediment selenium shoreline Slab City Sonny Bono species tilapia Valley Historical Society Victoria Matey visited the Salton wetlands