Letters to the Editor: The Salton Sea will vanish as long as the sun continues to shine and water fills it, said Bill Oleszek, chair of the Salton Sea Task Force for the Great American Desert Initiative. Oleszek was referring to the Salton Sea, which is the world’s largest hypersaline lake. The lake sits atop a salt bed known as Lake Doron, in the southwestern corner of the San Joaquin Valley. While the Salton Sea is no longer what it was, scientists have confirmed the lake is slowly getting smaller thanks to evaporation.
The only thing that will be sure is that salinization will continue, Oleszek added. Scientists at the Desert Research Institute, in partnership with the University of California, Riverside, have been monitoring the Salton Sea since it was declared a natural disaster in 1992. As a result of these experiments, scientists have been able to predict the future of the world’s largest hypersaline lake. This data has allowed them to predict the timing of future earthquakes by determining how the salinity level of Lake Doron will change in the future. “We’ve been able to identify the timing of a future earthquake and have a good understanding of what will happen in the Salton Sea,” said John Leland, director of research at the Desert Research Institute. “Using this information, the researchers have been able to tell to the local inhabitants in the Salton Sea that in about 20 years, when the earthquake occurs, it won’t do them any good.”
The Salton Sea is the largest hypersaline lake in the world and is a critical habitat for fish, birds and even the endangered desert tortoise which is the only land tortoise in the San Joaquin Valley. Oleszek is in a position to help ensure this happens. He is the founder and chair of the Salton Sea Task Force for the Great American Desert Initiative.
“I don’t know how long we can keep that going,” Oleszek said, “but until there’s no water and we’re left to go on with what we have, I think they will go extinct.”
C.J. DeHaan, founder of the Sierra Club in Escondido, is also one of the world