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The Fading Dream of the Salton Sea

Friday, February 26, 2010

 The Fading Dream of the Salton Sea

Bombay Beach Salton Sea California

When first walking up to this long abandoned crane, it struck me what a perfect metaphor it represents. Many people came to the Salton Sea with big dreams and sometimes even bigger budgets. But given time the failed environment that is the Salton Sea has claimed them all. For a short time the manmade sea was in fact a near paradise. More people visited here than went to Yosemite each year.

By the late seventies flood irrigation in the Imperial Valley was at its peak. Huge amounts of fertilizer and pesticide laden farm runoff flowed directly back into the landlocked sea. Given the rising waters the crane was likely brought in, used as a dragline dredge in an attempt to open an ever-longer channel into the shallows and keep the local marina in business. Ultimately the crane along with the marina succumbed and were abandoned where they failed, to be engulfed by the rising sea.

Today sprinklers have long since replaced flood irrigation and the dwindling critical liquid resource of the Colorado River is legislated and divvied up, then pumped to farms and ever-increasing urban centers of the southwest. The landlocked sea still remains but is receding, the salts and pollutants it contains becoming ever more concentrated. The crane once again sits exposed under the desert sun, a whimsical sculpture in a fading dream.

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 The Fading Dream of the Salton Sea Picture
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ID# SSE-091
Abandoned Crane Detail Bombay Beach Salton Sea
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