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

  • It is a desert of water in a desert of salt and mud and rock, one of the most desolate and desolately beautiful of regions. Its sunsets, seen across water that reflects like polished metal, are incredible. Its colors are of a staring, chemical purity. The senses are rubbed raw by its moonlike horizons, its mirages, its parching air, its moody and changeful atmosphere.

    Wallace Stegner, "Dead Heart of the West" in American Places, 1981

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