Salton Sea playa foliage

SALTON SEA playa experiencing plant resurgence. Lloyd Miller photo

SALTON CITY — The Salton Sea has been the topic of the day ever since I came to Imperial Valley in the late 80s. Millions of dollars have been spent on numerous studies on how to handle the shrinking Sea and the pollution from the New River. 

The pollution from the New River comes from the raw sewage from Mexicali, along with its polluted air. The Imperial Valley suffers from the polluter to the south.

In the middle of 2017, the Imperial Irrigation District stopped putting Colorado River water into the Sea at a rate of 200,000 gallons a year. 

The Salton Sea is shrinking and more playa is being exposed.

Millions of dollars are sought and/or promised to alleviate the dangers of the exposed playa. There are numerous groups trying to get these monies to “fix” the Sea and “clean” our air. It has become a cottage industry. There are claims that the exposed playa is dangerous because winds can blow the contaminants within the playa towards populated areas. This is nothing compared to the pollution coming from Mexicali.

I frequently pass by the Salton Sea and, in one area in particular, I have watched the Sea slowly move farther away from the shore. The exposed playa gets larger every week.

But something has caught my eye. The edge of the shore has started to grow towards the Sea. Desert shrubs and scrub brush are coming back where there once was water. It looks like the desert foliage that surrounds the Salton Sea. 

Upon closer inspection, I found many plants filling in by the water’s edge.

The playa around the Salton Sea is repairing itself.

Amazing. Life finds a way. So much for the millions of dollars spent and to be spent cleaning up the seashore.

If there is money coming from various sources, it should be used to rebuild the infrastructures of our desert cities that are slowing deteriorating.

Just my two cents …

Lloyd Miller

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