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Co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund in the framework of the programme Interreg IVA Grande Région.
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Sea dream avenue © Martine Pinnel
Sea dream avenue © Martine PinnelSea dream avenue © Martine Pinnel

Sea dream avenue


04-06-2019 - 12-07-2019
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(Unfortunately this text does not exist in English.)

The surreal Salton Sea is situated on the San Andreas fault, in one of the hottest and driest places in Southern California. It was settled as an agricultural area in the early twentieth century. The sea as we know it today, was accidentally created in 1905 when heavy rainfall created flooding from the Colorado river. This caused an irrigation canal to break through and supplied the dried out basin, the Salton Sink, with water inflow for two years, before it was stopped.

As the farming industry expanded in the valley, more and more water, mainly agricultural runoff, flew into the basin. Since the 1920's it has been designated an agricultural sump. Even though being hyper saline and growing saltier all the time, the sea became a habitat for numerous fish and bird species.

By the 1960's the Salton Sea had become a vibrant recreational area, as it was advertised as "everything you wanted in sports, relaxation and security" and as "an investment in a prosperous future". Conveniently located near Los Angeles and Palm Springs, it even attracted many celebrities. But after numerous catastrophes, such as millions of fish dying on the shores of the Sea on a daily basis and flooding of the nearby beach resorts in the 90s, causing people to leave, the Valley lies practically forgotten.
California's ongoing drought, as well as the reduction of water inflow, is causing the sea to slowly dry out. Thus, the sea is creating a hostile environment for animals causing millions of fishes to die and leave birds without food nor shelter.

The water levels are receding and exposing toxic dust that is dangerous to the inhabitants of the Salton Sea and to the entire population of Southern California.

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