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Proposals to Save Salton Sea, Fish Being Examined

Associated Press

Authorities are examining ways to save the Salton Sea, the state’s largest inland body of water, which is already saltier than the ocean and threatens to wipe out its fish population.

A report by Occidental College researchers concludes that the sea, 150 miles southeast of Los Angeles, could generate $200 million in annual revenue as a fishery and recreation area. But first, $350 million must be raised to fight rising salinity, which threatens fish, the report said. Construction could cost another $650 million.

The sea was formed between 1905 and 1907 when the Colorado River broke through irrigation gates and flowed into a salt-covered depression in the Imperial County desert. There is no drain for the sea, and evaporation over the years has left the water about 20% saltier than the ocean.

The report suggests digging a canal from the Gulf of California to the sea to bring in less saline ocean water.

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The federal Bureau of Reclamation and the Army Corps of Engineers next month are expected to study the idea, which has been criticized as extreme.


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