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Greening the Desert - Salton Sea area

 
Sheri Menelli
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Within the next 12 months, I'll be buying land by the Salton Sea (to the east of Palm Desert, Coachella Valley area in Southern California)

Has anyone else done any permaculture projects in that area?

Anyone else want to join in on this project and/or buy land? I have to go down there and take a good look at the land but I've found some deals for 200+ acres for $15,000.

 
Miles Flansburg
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Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
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bee books forest garden fungi greening the desert hugelkultur
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200 acres for $15,000 !! Where did you find that deal?
 
Sheri Menelli
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Well, online but I'm wondering myself if that is for real. I really need to go down there and talk to a realtor or someone selling it by owner.

 
Andrew Parker
pollinator
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Location: Salt Lake Valley, Utah, hardiness zone 6b/7a
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Does it have water rights? That is very, very hot, very, very dry desert. Greening techniques are unlikely to have a significant impact there without supplemental water.

I was in the area last year at this time and it was in the 90's -- a cool day. Land fraud is a hallowed tradition in the desert. Check the paperwork. I wouldn't pay a dime until I had spent some time on the specific land considered for purchase. Double check if there are any land use, development or reselling restrictions for the land. Those restrictions can come from every level of government, so be thorough.

Keeping all that in mind, it could be a great adventure.

Good luck but be careful.
 
John Polk
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Go into that area with eyes wide open!
The lake is below sea level, and is very salty - saltier than the Pacific ocean.
There was tremendous land fraud done there decades ago.
Most of the development has turned into ghost towns.

I would be extremely hesitant to invest one penny in the region.
The lake will be going down in level every year, leaving 1,000's of acres of land that is way to salty to grow even the worst weeds.
Perhaps you could start a kelp/seaweed business.

 
Sheri Menelli
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Hi,

Thanks for the advice. Yes, I'm too careful to go into that without researching it more. I wouldn't buy without the help of an agent or attorney who could make sure I
owed rights but also I would want to make sure I owed all the water, mineral, oil or whatever other rights there are

Very little rain so I might do it the way Neal Spackman did which is to only use the water you get from rain

Salty but is it any worse than what Geoff ran into by the Red Sea?
 
John Polk
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Salty but is it any worse than what Geoff ran into by the Red Sea?

The world's oceans have 35 grams/liter salt. The Salton Sea has 54 g/l.

The water situation is about to get worse. The Colorado River water board is about to cut off much of the water to the entire Imperial Valley:

In 2017 a massive water transfer will take place, diverting millions of gallons of water that would normally go to farmers in the imperial valley, that eventually supplies the sea to keep the level what it is today. This will expose thousands of acres of Playa, which contain toxic silt , and when air borne will cause harmful effects on all inhabitants near the lake and afar, depending on prevailing winds. Doing nothing is not an option, its our responsibility to fix the problem. And speaking to that, the federal government caused most of this problem and they should pick up most of the bill. Shame on them for pretending not to realize the magnitude of the problem for the last thirty years.




 
Neal Spackman
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Location: Makkah, Saudi Arabia
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Sherri you need to understand that if you're hoping to turn it green, you have to have a significant source of runoff whereby you are capturing rain from higher up in your watershed, or you have to have money to put in extensive earthworks so that all rainfall is being directed in an organized way to very hardy plants. I don't know that area at all, but if it has mountains then there is a chance. The land may be cheap, but the earthworks won't be.

Look into "Challenge of the Desert" about reconstructing traditional methods in the Negev, and take a look at Lanzarote in the canary islands as well.

 
Rose Gardener
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Hey Sheri - any update on your land purchase? are you living in the Coachelia Valley now?
 
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