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Q: Where is the Imperial Valley?
A: The Imperial Valley is part of Imperial County, which borders Mexico to the south, Arizona to the east and San Diego County to the west. It is prime agricultural land that was created out of the arid desert. Food ranging from dates to lettuce to asparagus to mangos is produced here, as is alfalfa and other grasses, cattle, dairy milk and sugar beets.
Q: When was it settled?
A: The Imperial Valley was one of the last frontiers to be settled in the West. Its first city, Imperial, was founded in 1901, as was the first edition of this newspaper. Now the Valley boasts seven incorporated cities and a population of about 155,000. Water is delivered from the Colorado River that separates Southern California from Arizona. A precious commodity, water is carried via an intricate, gravity-based canal system, which also produces power, making Imperial County and the Imperial Irrigation District powerful players in the state.
Q: What is the Salton Sea?
A: The Salton Sea, the largest inland lake in California, stretches across northern Imperial County into Riverside County. It has an extremely high salt content but yet remains a prime recreation area for boating and fishing. The increasing saltiness of the sea has, it seems, forever been a concern. The salt basin under the sea has been filled with water many times over the centuries but was bone dry for many years until an engineering snafu in the early 1900s breached the wall separating the Sea of Cortez from dry land. Water poured through the area, creating the sea. Legislation is in place to clean the salt and chemicals such as pesticide and manufacturing residue carried to the sea through the New and Alamo rivers, whose origins are south of the border in Mexico.