Salton Sea 101

Salton Sea
Hardly a day goes by when my staff or I don’t get asked, “What’s wrong with the Salton Sea?” “Is the salt killing the birds?” “Why does it change colors?” “What about the smell.” As the Sea becomes more of a popular environmental cause the questions become more frequent — and more urgent.

I've been asked to post some information about the Sea, it's ills, its positive qualities, why the Sea is so important to us and what's being done to protect this wonderful resource. Consider this a fundamental course about the Salton Sea - called Salton Sea 101, it's my attempt to offer a look at what happens at the Sea but certainly not a lesson in biology! There are sites that will provide a much more in-depth clinical picture of the Sea's systems, they're posted in the What's Happening section of I'd recommend Dr. Hurlbert's Center for Inland Waters Salton Sea Home Page as a must read for those intent on learning about this resource.

After researching the Sea on the Internet, come to our shore -- it's the best way to learn about the Salton Sea. Visit the Salton Sea State Recreation Area or the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge, understand the value of California’s Greatest Resource and appreciate the need to ensure its future.
Steve Horvitz - Superintendent, Salton Sea State Recreation Area

Links to information about the Sea....

The Salton Sea Authority
is the local agency charged with developing a solution for the Sea.

San Diego State University's Salton Sea web page
The university's Center for Inland Waters website.

The Salton Sea is California’s largest lake. It is the third largest saline lake in the nation.

The Sea has no outlet.

Its surface elevation is 227 feet below sea level.

The average depth of the Salton Sea is 29.9 feet, its deepest is about 50 feet.

The Sea’s watershed is 8,000 square miles.

Annual inflow is 1.3 million acre-feet with an annual salt load of 4 million tons.

About 1.3 million acre-feet of water evaporates from the Salton Sea each year.