The Salton Sea, a large, shallow saline lake in the desert of Southern California, was formed as it stands today when an irrigation canal carrying water from the Colorado River broke in 1905. By the 1960s the lake had become a vacation paradise filled with resorts and hotels, and at the time was referred to by some developers as “the American Riviera.”
During the 1980s and 1990s the lake was home to one of the greatest sport fisheries in the world. However, because it has served as a drainage sump for over 100 years, the Sea has accumulated excessive nutrients and other chemical compounds, primarily in the form of hydrogen sulfide, ammonia and salt. The increasing nutrient and salinity levels are killing the Sea, as the water is becoming too salty for most life forms.