California’s Salton Sea is a fertile oasis in the hostile desert of southeastern California, adopted by millions of birds migrating along the Pacific Flyway. As California’s largest lake, it stretches across almost 35 miles in a remote, below sea-level valley in the southeastern corner of the state. Current Salton Sea information is posted below.

The Sea faces a host of challenges, including a declining water supply, rising salinity, very high levels of nutrients that generate excessive algal growth and very low oxygen levels, and, to date, a glaring disconnect between the rate of change and the rate of efforts to address that change.

 
Salton Sea elevation, 27-Oct-2020: -238.58 feet, NGVD 1929
Provisional data, subject to revision.
Source: USGS 10254005 Salton Sea NR Westmorland, CA
Time Series: Current/Historical Observations

Equivalent to: -236.5 feet, NAVD 1988

Area: acres ( sq miles)
Source: SALSA2 model


Volume: million acre-feet


Salton Sea elevation on 27-Oct, 2003 Baseline: feet, NGVD 1929


Change from 2003 elevation: feet


Reduction in Salton Sea area: acres ( sq miles)


IID dust control projects: 2,100 acres
Source: IID


SSMP dust control project: Bruchard Road – 112 acres
Source: SSMP, Jan. 2020


Habitat projects: 0 acres


Open water atop playa: 1,029 acres
Source: Formation, End-of-Year 2019 Playa Exposure Estimate


Revegetation atop playa: 4,722 acres
Source: Formation, End-of-Year 2019 Playa Exposure Estimate



Net exposed playa: ~ acres ( sq miles)


Click on the following links to display additional information:
Recent inflows
Salton Sea average annual salinity
SWRCB acreage milestones
Estimated annual playa PM10 emissions

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Salton Sea Inflows

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Changes in bird populations: fewer pelicans, fewer eared grebes, more ducks and shorebirds


Salton Sea elevation, January 2003 – August 2020:
 
Source: USGS

Days since water mitigation ended: 1032

Salton Sea links:


Desert Sun Video:


 

A flock of Wilson’s Phalaropes create a reflection while flying over constructed saline habitat ponds (SHP), Salton Sea, California. Numerous species of waterbirds rapidly inhabited the SHP after completion in March 2006, and continued to use the SHP for foraging, roosting, and nesting activities, until the ponds were dried up in 2010. Photograph courtesy of Tom Anderson, U.S. Geological Survey, Salton Sea Science Office. See Miles, A.K., Ricca, M.A., Meckstroth, A., and Spring, S.E., 2009, Salton Sea Ecosystem Monitoring Project: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2009-1276, 150 p.
American white pelicans at USGS/Reclamation Saline Habitat Ponds. Photo courtesy of Tom Anderson.
Black-necked stilt & nest at USGS/Reclamation Saline Habitat Ponds. Photo courtesy of Tom Anderson.