Haven or Hazard: The Ecology and Future of the Salton Sea

Published: February 1999

Authors: Michael Cohen, Jason Morrison, and Edward Glenn

Pages: 78



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. The sea is plagued by 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 the general indifference of state and federal decision-makers.

Published in 1999, this report examines the history and condition of the lake, the threats to the region, and possible solutions to protect its value. Its context and findings remain relevant to current rehabilitation efforts seeking to protect this critical ecosystem, as well as the health of surrounding communities affected by dust blowing from the sea’s exposed lakebed.


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