The Salton Sea. | Photo: Connie K. Ho.

Saving the Salton Sea

It's hard to imagine that the Salton Sea was once considered a prime tourist destination in the 1950s.

Over the years, the desert lake has become a post-apocalyptic scene marked by fish carcasses, abandoned structures, and mobile homes. Now, many scientists are claiming that it's an ecological time bomb.

During the 1950s and '60s, the sea was crowded with boats, marathon races, and tourists. Celebrities and politicians made it a point to visit the Salton Sea as a weekend retreat. But the lake's popularity was short-lived after salinity and toxicity levels increased, causing thousands of fish to die, leaving an unpleasant smell and deserted beach town behind.

The Salton Sea was accidentally created in 1905 after an inundation on the Colorado River made its way past canal barriers and the Salton Trough. It's now the largest lake in California and sits 226 feet below sea level.

Politicians have called for the transformation and revitalization of the sea, but plans have come and gone, and the fate of the sea continues to be uncertain.

In this segment of "SoCal Connected," reporter Derrick Shore visits the sea to talk to locals and experts about the sea, which is not only becoming an issue for locals, but could be a threat to the environment and the health of residents in larger U.S. Southwestern region and Mexico.

 

Full Episodes

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'Where's Nancy?' and 'The Virus Hunter'

A man's search for his missing wife who suffers from early onset Alzheimer's reveals gaps in the system meant to locate and care for the mentally impaired in California. Socal Connected documents the journey to answer, where's Nancy.

She's called the unstoppable woman. Meet one of the world's top virus hunters, who travels to the most remote parts of the planet to identify and stop pandemics.

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'Bail Bonds', 'The Comeback Kids' and 'School of Good Works'

The price of freedom for some in the Los Angeles County Jail system is simply too high a cost. As much as a quarter of the 17,000 in LA's jails are there simply because they cannot make bail.

The California Condors were close to extinction when Federal Fish and Wildlife officials took an aggressive approach to save one of the world's largest birds.

A profile piece of an Islamic school in South Los Angeles which is giving back to its local community which has been ravaged by drugs, violence and crime. 

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'Freelance Nation' and 'Made in L.A.'

With the rise of the super-temp, comes the increase income inequality. What happens when half the workforce are gig workers? SoCal Connected follows an Uber driver who lost his job and is struggling to support his family as an independent contractor. 

How one of L.A.'s most successful entrepreneurs, Cisco Pinedo, is building a brand, furniture and community all at the same time.

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'The Assassin Bugs' and 'Channel Islands'

They’re tiny, weaponized, and carry a potentially deadly payload. They’re called “Assassin Bugs” and they can be as common as the backyard mosquito or as exotic as the so-called “kissing bug"--and they're here in Southern California, spreading some of the deadliest - and neglected- diseases in the world.

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'Substandard of Living' and 'Mending Kids'

Landlord Dario Pini calls himself a savior of Santa Barbara's working class, but the District Attorney— and many of his tenants have other words to describe him. SoCal Connected questions one of Southern California's most notorious landlords about allegations that he's more of a slumlord than a savior.

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