The Imperial Valley of California

The Imperial Valley of California is a severe landscape. The region is a sort of poster child for the state's ongoing struggle with water as a result of working and re-working the land in the name of agriculture. In the center of it all is the Salton Sea, a manmade disaster and body of water that yields very little except massive amounts of Tilapia, with its ultra high concentrations of salt. The inhabitants of the small villages that live in makeshift communities around the Sea are very far removed from mainstream American society and quite poor. There are very few resources in the area available to the general population with the exception of the California State Prison in Calipatria and the surrounding farms that provide work to the migrant workers. The largest city in the area is the border town of El Centro. The proximity to Mexico around the Salton Sea means Border Patrol checkpoints in several spots and a general sense of surveillance alongside the road.