Desert Southwest

Slab City

Death and Salvation on the New River

Notes on ecological devastation and salvation along the New River in Southern California.

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Slab City

PHOTO: Ruins of a trailer park submerged in the Salton Sea, near Bombay Beach and Slab City.


ounded sea creatures abound on the seashore of the Salton Sea. The head of a seagull, still bleeding. But what happened to the rest of it? A very large spinal bone - a cow? But why here? A television set, sitting in the shallow Salton Sea. And beyond, a half submerged construction crane. In this drawn-out milky dusk, the brown-green water laps the shore in the consistency of eggnog.

The Salton Sea: a large lake in California's border region with Mexico.

The shore itself is made of the bones of fish. The crunch and the stink, that's from when all the fish die. The birds die too, in unusual ways. The Salton Sea is one big environmental catastrophe. And I'm on my way to the source. No rush though. I'm on vacation.