Sonny Bono Salton Sea Wildlife refuge

So back to the Salton Sea story…… (see previous blog) in 1905, the Colorado River drained into the Salton see area for 2 years before they were able fix the area of the river.  Wintering waterfowl began flocking to the sea almost immediately, and before long, the area proved to be a major stopover destination for migrating birds. “Shown to have a greater diversity of avian species than that of the Florida Everglades, the Salton Sea is a vital habitat for more than 400 species of birds making it a one of North America’s premier birding locations.”  We decided prior to going there to give ourselves a new camera (?? christmas present)  So we took LOTS of pictures.   We “snuck up” on several birds attempting the perfect picture, and then while sorting out something with my camera in the car afterwards a HUGE heron flew within a few feet of our car (no time for a picture)

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“The Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1930 at the southern end of the sea. Less than 1,800 of its original 37,600 acres remain manageable due to shoreline flooding. [1] In 1998, the refuge was renamed the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge to commemorate congressman and former celebrity showman Bono who was an early champion of Salton Sea remediation efforts.”

We went to the information centre, and it was quite interesting. She told us that the bird population that actually comes to the refuge has changed in recent years.  The salinity of the sea increases by about 3% per year, and very few fish can tolerate the concentration of salt. Apparently, though the sea has been a great fishing area for a long time, non one has actually caught fish there in the past 2 years, at least that they knew of.dsc00635

There are tales of boating several years ago, on a  calm day, you could look down into the water at the town that exists, where the salt mine was.  The OTHER really interesting boating story, is that because the lake sits ~260 feet below sea level, and with the increased salinity of the water, boats engines apparently perform much better.  So boats go much faster than they would elsewhere. So they had to initiate boating speed laws. We went down to the boat launch. As you can see there is no water for the first mile out from the launch.  The lake level is dropping all the time, and it sounds like it will eventually disappear again some day.dsc00601

In 1998 the sea was named after Sonny Bono. Part of the Salton Sea was in Bono’s congressional district, and cleaning up the lake became one of the issues he championed during his two terms in Congress. Bono’s death has created bipartisan support for the cleanup project.  It does seem that the area needs a new champion though.

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So we are now almost to Oregon, we DID spend a few days in Ventura visiting with some friends we have not seen in years. Irene and Ken.  Also (not pictured here) Cindy and Paul.  We gave them a little concert of our newer songs. Who says you cannot have a party in a motorhome.:) 🙂 so wonderful to be with friends.

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Much Love

Janet, and Ken and Tucker.

 

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