Salton, A Sea of Controversy
Department of Biological Sciences
Bowling Green State University
The Salton Sea is an “accidental” lake that receives used irrigation water from the Colorado River. Humans have profoundly altered the area’s ecosystems. The Salton Sea is important for wildlife and recreation, but is now saltier than the ocean. How might it be saved? This case examines the Salton Sea’s problems and uncertain future. The case would be suitable for introductory environmental, biology, geography and geology classes, and courses dealing with land use, water resources, agriculture, birds or fish, ecosystems, and government policy.
- To examine how water diversion affects ecosystems.
- To show how controversial water rights have become.
- To consider appropriate uses of land in light of geography and climate.
- To observe some environmental effects of agriculture.
- To appreciate the impact human demands for water makes on other species.
- To consider the high cost of trying to remedy an ecological disaster.
- To practice decision-making in the public sector.
KeywordsSalton Sea; man-made lake; salinity; water resources; water use; water conflicts; land use; ecosystems management; environmental decision-making; California; Colorado River
Topical AreasPolicy issues
Educational LevelHigh school, Undergraduate lower division
Type / MethodsDilemma/Decision, Jig-Saw, Role-Play
Subject HeadingsEcology | Environmental Science | Natural Resource Management | Geology | Geography | Environmental Engineering |