With the emphasis on mentalist:
BOMBAY BEACH, CA — The lake is drying up, uncounted dead fish line the shore, and the desert town is losing people.
It could be the plot of a post-apocalyptic movie set in the future, but this is actually happening here and it has been going on for years. It wasn’t always like this, of course. There was a time when this town was booming. There was a time when the Salton Sea, California’s largest lake, was the “French Riviera” of the state, and the pride and joy of Imperial County. But that was decades ago, during the Sea’s heydays of the 1950s and 1960s. Back when this area had luxury resorts, piers, yachts, and thousands of visitors, including stars like Frank Sinatra — who owned a house in nearby Palm Springs and would come down to see Guy Lombardo sail his speedboat.
The Salton Sea is a shallow, saline, endorheic rift lake located directly on the San Andreas Fault, predominantly in California’s Imperial and Coachella valleys.
The lake occupies the lowest elevations of the Salton Sink in the Colorado Desert of Imperial and Riverside counties in Southern California. Its surface is 234.0 ft (71.3 m) below sea level. The deepest point of the sea is 5 ft (1.5 m) higher than the lowest point of Death Valley. The sea is fed by the New, Whitewater, and Alamo rivers, as well as agricultural runoff, drainage systems, and creeks.
Over millions of years the Colorado River has flowed into the Imperial Valley and deposited soil (creating fertile farmland) and building up the terrain constantly changing the course of the river. For the next thousands of years the river has flowed into and out of the valley alternately creating a freshwater lake, an increasingly saline lake, and a dry desert basin, depending on river flows and the balance between inflow and evaporative loss. The cycle of filling has been about every 400–500 years and has repeated itself many times. The latest natural cycle occurred around 1600–1700 as remembered by Native Americans who talked with the first settlers. Fish traps still exist at many locations and it is evident that the Native Americans would move the traps depending upon the cycle.
The most recent inflow of water from the now heavily controlled Colorado River was accidentally created by the engineers of the California Development Company in 1905. In an effort to increase water flow into the area for farming, irrigation canals were dug from the Colorado River into the valley. Due to fears of silt buildup, a cut was made in the bank of the Colorado River to further increase the water flow. The resulting outflow overwhelmed the engineered canal, and the river flowed into the Salton Basin for two years, filling the historic dry lake bed and creating the modern sea, before repairs were completed.