Conflicting Interests Target Declining Great Salt Lake

07 November 2016 Published in News & Events

SALT LAKE CITY (CN) - A steady drop in the Western Hemisphere's largest saltwater lake, drained by decades of water consumption, is affecting millions of migratory birds, and could bring major consequences for Utah tourism, industry and residents.
     The Great Salt Lake, a remnant of the Glacial Age's Lake Bonneville, has reached near record-low levels, a recent study shows, exposing half of the natural lake's bed.
     State university and community college faculty, joined by Division of Wildlife Resources and Water Resources workers, published "Impacts of Water Development on Great Salt Lake and the Wasatch Front" in April this year.
     The white paper cites droughts and floods as short-term factors to the decline, but water management schemes, including consumption and mineral extraction are the major culprits in the 48 percent decline of the water level.

Read the entire report

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Why We Care

  • The lake is elemental. It seems to arise from creation itself, the embodiment of Aristotle's classical concept of matter and the universe: earth, air, fire, and water. Seen in this ethereal light -- the gloom of dusk lit by fiery sunlight, alien and snow-covered, leaking water and struggling to exist -- it connects to secret and ancient things. Aristotle's insight may have come to him in a dream, and the dream surely looked like this.

    Thomas Horton, Alfred Lambourne Prize Participant

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