Imperial County - Imperial Valley

Imperial County is located in the southwest corner of California immediately east of San Diego County in the Imperial Valley and is the least populated county in the state. The county seat is El Centro. Although the region is a desert, the economy is based primarily on agriculture which is supported by irrigation, with water being supplied by the Colorado River via the All-American Canal. The Salton Sea is located in both Imperial County and Riverside County.

The All-American Canal is an 82-mile canal/aqueduct that transfers water from the Colorado River to the agricultural areas of the Imperial Valley and nine cities. Agricultural runoff in the Imperial Valley drains into the Alamo River and New River which drain into the Salton Sea.

Cities in Imperial County include EI Centro, Calexico, Brawley, and Imperial. Unincorporated communities in Imperial County include Salton City, Desert Shores, Salton Sea Beach, Winter Haven, and Bombay Beach.

The Salton Sea is a large, shallow, saline lake located southeast of the Coachella Valley, in Southern California within Riverside County and Imperial County. While the dimensions vary depending upon rain and agricultural runoff, it averages 35 miles by 15 miles with a maximum depth of 44 feet. It is the largest lake in California. The lake's salinity is greater than the Pacific Ocean, but less than that of the Great Salt Lake in Utah. The level of salt has been increasing over the years limiting the types of fish that can survive. The primary inflows are the Alamo River, the New River, and the Whitewater River. There are no major outflows. There are a number of groups, including the Salton Sea Authority and the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge organization, working on strategies to save the Salton Sea. Towns along the Salton Sea include: Bombay Beach, Desert Beach, Desert Shores, Salton City, Salton Sea Beach, and North Shore.

 

Imperial Valley

The Imperial Valley is located within Imperial County and Riverside County. It is bordered by the Coachella Valley on the north, the Colorado River on the east, partially by the Salton Sea on the west, and Mexico on the south. Agriculture is the primary basis of the economy. The terms Imperial County and Imperial Valley are commonly used interchangeably by local residents.

The All-American Canal is an 82-mile canal/aqueduct that transfers water from the Colorado River to the agricultural areas of the Imperial Valley and nine cities. Agricultural runoff in the Imperial Valley drains into the Alamo River and New River which drain into the Salton Sea.

 

Imperial Reservoir

The Imperial Reservoir is a man-made lake formed by construction of the Imperial Diversion Dam in 1938, across the Colorado River in the Lower Colorado River Valley in Imperial County. The reservoir is partially included within the Imperial National Wildlife Refuge.

 

Imperial Valley Geothermal Project

The Imperial Valley Geothermal Project is a complex of eleven geothermal power stations located in the Salton Sea Geothermal Field, along the southern shore of the Salton Sea in the Imperial Valley of California. It is the second largest geothermal field in the United States after The Geysers of Northern California.

 

Lithium Valley

Lithium is a vital mineral in the rechargeable batteries used by consumers in portable computing devices, electric vehicles and battery storage. Today, the United States has only 1 % of global lithium being mined and processed, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The earth deep below the southern portion of the Salton Sea, which is located in Imperial County, is rich in hot, mineral-abundant geothermal brine that contains some of the world's largest deposits of lithium. It is estimated that Imperial County may hold as much as fifteen million metric tons of lithium, in addition to other rare minerals.

Imperial County officials and industry professionals envision a "Lithium Valley" in Imperial County that would establish California as a global production hub that could employ thousands of workers and propel the economic future of Imperial County residents for generations to come.

 

The Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge

The Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge, named after Congressman Sonny Bono, is located in the Imperial Valley at the southern end of the Salton Sea. The refuge contains marine, freshwater, wetland, and agricultural habitats which provide sanctuary for hundreds of birds and wetland species, including some that are endangered. The refuge has a visitor center and walking trails.

Other protected areas include the Imperial National Wildlife Refuge and the Cibola National Wildlife Refuge.

 

Imperial County Airport

Imperial County Airport, also known as Boley Field, is a 370-acre, county owned, public-use airport with two runways. The general aviation airport has limited commercial passenger service. The airport is located approximately two miles south of the central business district of Imperial, partially within the city and partially in unincorporated county land. Annual aircraft operations currently exceed 15,000.

 

Imperial Valley College

Imperial Valley College, established in 1962, is a 160-acre accredited, two-year public community college in Imperial County with an enrollment approaching 7,500 students. Its main campus is in City of Imperial with branches in EI Centro and Brawley. Imperial Valley College offers fifty degree and certificate programs. Earned college credits are transferable to the University of California as well as the state university colleges.

 

Imperial Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce

The Imperial Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce (IVRCC) was created in 2021 when the Imperial Chamber, Westmoreland Chamber, and the EI Centro Chamber merged. The IVRCC now has more than 500 members and is growing. The chamber provides its members with networking and extensive educational opportunities. It also publishes a valuable directory of members.

 

Imperial Valley Joint Chamber of Commerce

The Imperial Valley Joint Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit organization that includes the Brawley Chamber of Commerce. the Calexico Chamber of Commerce, and the Holtville Chamber of Commerce. Their focus is on business development for its members and the community, increased tourism, and legislative advocacy. The joint chamber was founded in 2009.

 

Imperial County Historical Society - Pioneers Park Museum

The Imperial County Historical Society was organized as the Imperial Valley Pioneers Society in 1928 to preserve the life histories of earlier settlers. While its name has changed, its ongoing mission is still to preserve the unique development of the irrigated desert and the people who developed the area. Today, the organization's vast collection of documents, archives, newspapers, photos, and historic equipment is stored in the Pioneers Park Museum facility at Pioneers Park. The museum is located across from Imperial Valley College in Imperial, California. Memberships are available and donations are always welcome.

 

Imperial Valley Desert Museum

The Imperial Valley Desert Museum, located in Ocotillo, is a relatively new museum so more information will follow on the museum's website from time to time. The board of directors is seeking donations and additional members. Ocotillo is a small town located 26 miles west of EI Centro, not far from Calexico and Brawley.

 

Calexico International Airport

Calexico International Airport is a 257-acre city-owned, public-use, international airport located approximately one mile west of the central business district of Calexico in Imperial County. The airport is a general aviation airport used extensively to facilitate agricultural related, import-export business between the United States and Mexico. Annual aircraft operations currently exceed 12,500.

 

Imperial National Wildlife Refuge

The Imperial National Wildlife Refuge, established in 1941, is a 25,768 acre federally designated wilderness area in Imperial County, Southern California. The refuge is a habitat for thousands of migrating birds including egrets, storks, bald eagles, hawks, owls, swallows, hummingbirds, pelicans, and ducks.

 

Fort Romualdo Pacheco

Fort Romualdo Pacheco is a California Historical Landmark located on the west bank of the New River, about six miles west of Imperial in Imperial County. The historic fort was constructed in 1825 by Mexico which controlled the territory at that time. The fort was abandoned one year later after Kumeyaay Indians repeatedly attacked the Mexicans who relocated to San Diego.

 

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, established in 1933, is the largest state park in California consisting of 585,930 acres. The Southern California park includes parts of Imperial County, San Diego County, and Riverside County. The park has 12 designated wilderness areas and 110 miles of hiking trails. The park is primarily desert land but has several natural springs and oases. Wildlife includes bighorn sheep, deer, coyotes, golden eagles, roadrunners, and mountain lions.

 

Mountain Empire

Mountain Empire is a rural, undeveloped area in southeastern San Diego County adjacent to Imperial County. The area consists of small towns and wilderness areas.

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