Greetings from the Salton Sea is a book, website and installation project documenting the natural and built environment of the Salton Sea—an ecologically challenged saline body of water located in Southern California near the Mexican border. The project discusses the historical, social, and ecological background of this unique place through photography, text, archival real estate promotion films, and collected objects.

Greetings from the Salton Sea: Folly and Intervention in the Southern California Landscape, 1905-2005 was published by the Center for American Places in 2005 and is now available in paperback. The publication was funded, in part, by a grant from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. To purchase a signed and inscribed copy of the paperback edition through PayPal, please click here.

Photographs from Greetings from the Salton Sea are included in the Nevada Museum of Art's Altered Landscape Collection. Stringfellow's photograph "Abandoned Trailer, Bombay Beach, CA" was featured in the The Altered Landscape: Photographs of a Changing Environment co-published by Rizzoli Press/Nevada Museum of Art in 2011. The NMA's Center for Art + Environment acquired the research archive for this project during 2012. These Days host, Tom Fudge of San Diego NPR affiliate, KPBS interviewed Kim Stringfellow for the 100th anniversary of the Salton Sea's creation on November 9th, 2006.


In 1905 and 1906, California’s largest inland body of water—the Salton Sea—was formed when Colorado River levees broke below the California-Mexico border.  Great floodwaters filled the depression previously known as the Salton Sink—which, at its peak, covered upwards of 400 square miles—creating an immediate sanctuary for birds and opportunities for future development.

During the past 100 years, numerous real estate development schemes arose along the shores of the Salton Sea.  Frank Sinatra, Desi Arnaz, President Eisenhower, Jerry Lewis, and the Beach Boys all frequented the area and during the 1960s tourists visited the Salton Sea in numbers that, at times, exceeded tourism in Yosemite.

By the 1980s, however, the Salton Sea’s biologically overburdened system resulted in the near abandonment of the area’s resorts and communities with shoreline flooding, massive fish and bird die-offs reflecting the escalating environmental harm.

The future of the Salton Sea is uncertain.  It remains a major habitat and stopover to more than 400 resident and migratory avian species; but rapidly increasing salinity and an impending water transfer to ever-expanding Southern California communities complicate the future environmental picture.

Kim Stringfellow’s detailed visual and historical account conducted from 1998 through to the Sea's centenary in 2005 highlights one of California’s and indeed, America’s most fascinating and complex landscape histories at a time when the management of an entire regional ecosystem is at risk.
















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