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home : features : palo verde people January 25, 2015

7/26/2013 6:00:00 AM
Residents have concerns about Lagoon

Jeanette Hyduke
Palo Verde People

PALO VERDE - On March 12, 1993, residents awoke to find warnings posted about the town and on the bridge which crosses the lagoon, stipulating that as of that date, the Imperial County Health Department and the Environmental Health and Welfare Division closed the lagoon to fishing, swimming or any use of the lagoon.

Residents were horrified to read the message that said that until testing could assure that the lagoon was not contaminated, this warning was to be in place.

Homeowners and businesses in Palo Verde then began their fight to save the town.

Many residents living along the banks of the lagoon would pump water from the lagoon to spray their yards. This was also not permitted, stating that the droplets from the water or inhalation from the spraying could result in health hazards.

Residents had blamed the Bureau of Reclamation since 1967, when they began their project to change some of the rivers flow into the back waters and camps in the southern part of the valley.

The Palo Verde Irrigation District helped in putting the Simpsons Cut at the north end of the Island which cut off part of the water that previously ran into the lagoon.

Prior to the cut, the lagoon was much deeper and had a steady flow of water, which did not allow for contamination.

Work on the Simpsons Cut began in 1967 and lasted until 1970. Residents soon learned that nothing could stop the cut from going through and had to live with that fact. But then when the County Health Department put up the warnings in 1993, residents realized it was time to do something.

Ron Woods and other residents went to the Palo Verde Irrigation District and told them of their plight. With the help of Ed Smith and other PVID employees, they worked hard on trying to help, which they did by doing some work to Simpsons Cut and diverting more water into the lagoon, which helped.

But that was not enough to satisfy the Environments Health officials. A full blown investigation began and it was learned that among many other problems, sewage along the lagoon north of Palo Verde was causing some of the problem.

Because of the dedicated concerns of residents and the PVID and other officials, the problems have been corrected somewhat. However, residents know that the county and the Environmental Health Department is continually working with the county to get rid of the old type septic systems.

Some residents are fearful that their homes are too close to a waterway. Palo Verde County Water and residents of the town are working hard to get the grant in place to complete the septic system.

Palo Verde Irrigation District Manager Ed Smith, always a friend to Palo Verde, said this week, that he enjoys fishing in the lagoon and recently had a lot of luck catching his limit of bass.

Palo Verde is fast becoming known as one of the best fishing spots in Southern California. Since PVID did work on the Simpson Cut, it is possible to get to the river from Palo Verde by boat. However, there is a spot near Walters Camp which can give a bit of trouble.

The late Jim Amunds, before his death, had purchased the island in hopes he could make the entire area into another Palm Springs. However, he died before these visions were completed.

It is hoped by many that the town will start to grow again and with the younger people coming in, the vision Amunds had could become a reality.

Palo Verde has every thing; it has the waterways, backwaters, lagoon and the nearby river. In addition, it is surrounded by mountains, beautiful desert and an abundance of nearby gold mines.

Do not forget to sign up for July's fishing tournament at Wheelies store. It only cost $10 to enter and you could walk away with a big prize if you catch the largest fish for the month.

Nancy Mercury is working part time at Palo Verde post office. In her spare time she gives Yoga lessons and has a wide following as she promotes healthy living. She also gives art lessons and is a well known artist.

In your spare time this summer, go down to Coco Palms where she lives and investigate the many helps Nancy may give you.

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