News of California's Salton Sea drying up has spread across the internet as new reports indicate it could result in an environmental disaster.
The once-flourishing resort location is shrinking and therefore getting saltier. This could cause "clouds of toxic dust " to spread across Southern California, according to BBC. As a result of the drying, toxins selenium and arsenic could be released from the lake bed.
Once a part of the Colorado River Delta, the inland sea holds water left over from when the Grand Canyon was carved out.
As the body of water became increasingly salty from agricultural irrigation, many of the fish have died and people have long since stopped vacationing on the sea.
With less water flowing in and a high evaporation rate, the sea has already shrunk by more than 14 square miles in less than a decade, according to Yahoo News.
While visitors are few, some still fish tilapia and camp near the site, but the Salton Sea State Recreation Area is scheduled to close July 1 due to budget cuts.
The site remains important to the environment because many migrating birds use it as a stop along their route. If it dries up, the birds' migration route could be thrown off and could lead to their populations shrinking as well.
Michael Cohen, a senior researcher for the Pacific Institute who has been studying the shrinking sea, said California officials will likely postpone making decisions about the issue. He added that solutions to the drying of the sea could cost millions of dollars.
"By the time news cameras descend on the Sea in 2018 to broadcast images of dust storms blotting out the sky and thousands of dead birds and fish along its shores, it will be far too late," said Cohen, according to Yahoo.