Should This Lake Exist?


— Handwritten subtitles — Generated subtitles

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This is the largest body of water in California. It is about 25 kilometers wide by 55 kilometers long. You can't even see the other end of this lake. And it is home to the most diverse number of birds anywhere in the continental US besides Big Bend in Texas. And here is the thing. This body of water is here by accident. Let me explain. Back in about the 1900s there were engineers working on irrigating the fields of the American southwest. They were using the water from the Colorado River, but they were also trying to prevent it from flooding, from flooding all this farmland. Now in 1905 they got it a little bit wrong and also the Colorado River flooded its banks and used the channels they were building, basically, to flood this whole plain. Now this plain is actually about 70 meters, over 200 feet, below sea level. We are at one of the lowest points in North America. So the water flooded in here, the entire volume of the Colorado River flooded into this plain for about two years before they were able to stop the flooding.