Chapter 1: Head Waters -- Part I: Antediluvia -- Chapter 2: Dreams of Earth -- Chapter 3: Dead Mules and Nightmares -- Chapter 4: Memories of Seas -- Part II: The Great Diversion -- Chapter 5: Loomings -- Chapter 6. Nature Redreamt and Redrawn -- Chapter 7: Land of Heart's Desire -- Chapter 8: A Sea of Unintention -- Part III. Consequences -- Chapter 9: The Underwater Reservation -- Chapter 10: The Delta, Hung Out to Dry -- Chapter 11: Uphill Toward Money -- Chapter 12: The Theory and Practice of Borders -- Chapter 13: Home by the Range -- Chapter 14: Have We Got a Deal for You -- Chapter 15: A Sea of Troubles -- Chapter 16. Pipe Dreams. In low places consequences collect, and in all North America you cannot get much lower than the Imperial Valley of southern California, where one town, 186 feet below sea level, calls itself the Lowest Down City in the Western Hemisphere, and where the waters of the Colorado River sustain a billion-dollar agricultural industry. The consequences of that industry drain from the valley into the accidentally man-made Salton Sea, California's largest lake and a vital stopping place for migratory waterfowl. Today the Salton Sea is in desperate environmental trouble. Beginning with the Yuman-speaking tribes encountered by the Spanish in the sixteenth century, deBuys traces the exploration and development of the region through the Gold Rush of 1849, the government-sponsored surveys that followed, and the inept tinkering with the river by an assortment of irrigation and development interests that resulted in the floods that formed the Salton Sea nearly a century ago. He introduces us to a gallery of rogues and dreamers who saw a great future for this arid wilderness but could never refrain from interference with the forces of nature.