Lake Tahoe is California's second biggest lake and easily its most well known, a famous picturesque ski resort in the sierras. California has a bigger, lesser known lake out in the colorado desert--the salton sea. the salton sea is an environmental disaster, ringed with completely failed resort towns. the sea was created in the early 1900s when the colorado river overflowed and broke through mismanaged irrigation routes filling up the salton sink with water in the course of two years. a salt mining operation that existed in the sink before the flood caused the newly formed sea to be polluted and much more saline than the ocean.
Because its fed by agricultural runoff, the sea rises as falls unpredictably. this doomed the planned resort towns throughout the 50s. the abandonment is flooded at the shore, and the infrastructure and homes covered in brine
the sea is ringed with these dead fish
irrigation and agriculture make up the population around the salton sea
these are from neighboring Slab City
one of several abandoned resort towns on the sea, Salton Sea Beach
if you look at a map of salton city you'll see a sizeable street grid. in reality these were just surveyed. the sea was already a failure before many of the streets were finished being built
salton sea was a bad investment from the start. I visited this place before, in the middle of august. It truly is a hell hole in the summer. the air temps here go up to 110 F in the summer. the humidity from the sea makes these towns unbearable. if the stifling heat isn't enough, the brine from the sea gives off a terrible odor. imagine being in a bathroom where a hot shower had been running for an hour, and combine that feeling with the smell of a homeless man and you sum up the conditions at salton sea in the summer.
still, salton sea supports abundant bird wildlife as its a major stop on many flyways for birds, so the sea has become an environmental cause as there have been attempts to desalinize it, though much hasn't been accomplished yet