A Short History of the Sea
The Imperial Valley lies between the Sand Dunes on the east side and the Laguna Mountains on the west side. Millions of years ago it was the delta of the Colorado River until sediments created a dam across its mouth, and created a huge lake. Since that time the valley has alternately been home to deserts and lakes, depending on climate and river flows. The valley is exceedingly fertile, and in 1901, after a 40-mile canal had been built to provide water for irrigation, 300,000 acres were being farmed. In 1905 a flood caused a breach in the canal, and almost the entire Colorado River started to flow into the old lake bed of the Imperial Valley. Until the river was turned back 18 months later, some 63 billion gallons of water a day emptied into what became a lake 35 miles long and 15 miles wide, the Salton Sea.
From Yuma - take I-8 thirty-nine miles to Highway 115 (about 45 minutes), drive north thirty-two miles on 115 to Calipatria (about 40 minutes), continue north several miles to the Salton Sea NWR turnoff. Turn left (west) and go 4 miles to refuge headquarters.
- lots of Salton Sea birding, local info, and bird photos, probably the best
Imperial Valley bird site around. Excellent!
Future updates will list directions to these sites and let you know what to look for!