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Stories of the Past: May 19, 2010 >> 50 years ago — Yuma may become a seaport sooner than anyone dreams possible, claims Jack Williams in a special program on the subject of the 15-foot high silt barrier which separates the Gulf of California from the Imperial Valley.

May 19, 2010|By 1940, the head of the gulf was found to have moved 18 miles northward of its location at the time Hoover Dam was completed., , >> 40 years ago — A train robber clambered aboard a freight train Thursday either in Yuma or Winterhaven, | By 1940, the head of the gulf was found to have moved 18 miles northward of its location at the time Hoover Dam was completed., , >> 40 years ago — A train robber clambered aboard a freight train Thursday either in Yuma or Winterhaven

Williams, who has flown over the area he describes, says the silt barrier, originally enforced in average by 500,000 tons of silt a day in 1930, has been reduced by the dams on the Colorado River to a bare trace of silt passing Yuma.

Thus the status quo of the silt barrier no longer exists, and twice each day the incoming tidal wave strikes the barrier below the border and bites off vast quantities of soil, retiring with it into the precipitous depths of the Gulf of California.

By 1940, the head of the gulf was found to have moved 18 miles northward of its location at the time Hoover Dam was completed.

>> 40 years ago — A train robber clambered aboard a freight train Thursday either in Yuma or Winterhaven, broke into a U.S. mail “piggyback” truck, forced it open and threw between 200 and 300 mailbags onto the Southern Pacific right of way.

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The bags were scattered across Imperial County from Winterhaven to Mecca.

This morning sheriff’s deputies, railroad workers and postal inspectors were searching for the bags.

By mid-morning at least two of them had been recovered by deputies in the Niland area. The railroad and the post office inspectors have not yet reported what they have recovered.

>> 30 years ago — Some 2,000 Mexicali and San Luis Valley residents have been moved to higher ground as Colorado River water continues to back up into the Rio Hardy and spreads out over the flat terrain. The backup is creating thousands of acres of new marshland as the Colorado continues to flow at more than double its normal rate. Both Mexican and American officials say the increased flow was expected and that it is under control.

The extra water is being released from Boulder Dam, which is now at capacity.

>> 20 years ago — From the border where the New River enters the United States, to the Salton Sea, where the river empties its contaminated waters, officials from the Southern California Association of Governments followed the path of the polluted river Friday and Saturday to see just how severe the problem is.

“A picture is worth a thousand words,” said Supervisor Abe Seabolt who accompanied the group along with other city and county officials. “When they saw it first hand, it was disbelief. I mean they could not believe that something so polluted would be in the United States.”

“They were just amazed,” said Supervisor Jeanne Vogel, who was also with the group. “They just didn’t imagine that it looked like that. They were surprised at the smell. They wanted to know what they could do (to help us).”

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