Great Salt Lake Issues Forum

Great Salt Lake: The Gift That Keeps On Giving, Just Add Water

May 18-20, 2022 University of Utah Guest House & Conference Center

Thank you for participating in the 2022 Great Salt Lake Issues Forum

Event Photos

Video Archive

Speakers' Presentations 

Every two years, FRIENDS hosts a Great Salt Lake Issues Forum. The purpose of the forum is to encourage constructive dialogue about the future of the Lake’s ecosystem and its resources, and to illuminate the complexities involved in research, management, and planning for the Lake. The forum also explores Great Salt Lake from many different angles and in many different contexts—far beyond its resource development potential—to emphasize its ecological values as well as its intrinsic values that have contributed to our history, culture, and spirit. The program includes resources from the region and hemisphere to share important insights from those systems that will help us—the home team—recognize how unique and critical Great Salt Lake is in that context. Program participants for the forum have included Owens Lake, Mono Lake, Salton Sea, and the Dead Sea.

The 2022 forum included a 3-day poster session, awarding of the 2022 Doyle W. Stephens Scholarship to a graduate and an undergraduate student engaged in new or ongoing research that focuses on Great Salt Lake, and a Friday evening reception and banquet at the Alta Club, during which the 2022 Friend of the Lake Award was presented.

On October 16, 2021, Great Salt Lake reached a new historic low of 4190.4’ asl. Continuing concerns about climate change, our projected population growth, and water needs for the future have provided a catalyst for a variety of processes and reports that focus on water and Lake elevations. The July 2017 Recommended State Water Strategy presented to Governor Herbert to inform his 50-yr state water plan provided a springboard for drafting legislation, and organizing working groups to develop tools that translate into timely, responsible, and effective measures to address water issues around the state. Specific focus on the Lake with HCR-10 Concurrent Resolution to Address Declining Water Levels of Great Salt Lake (2019), and Recommendations to Ensure Adequate Water Flows to Great Salt Lake and Its Wetlands (December 2020) have significantly added to that traction and our sense of urgency by declaring that an effective response to Great Salt Lake’s decline must occur now.

Two recent reports commissioned by the Great Salt Lake Advisory Council: Consequences of Drying Lake Systems Around the World, and Assessment of Potential Costs of Declining Water Levels in Great Salt Lake, and the work on the integration of the Great Salt Lake Integrated Water Resource Model by Jacobs Engineering to analyze Lake level scenarios emphasize this urgency. Doing nothing is not an option.

The 2022 Great Salt Lake Issues Forum engaged attendees in timely and productive discussions about Utah’s water future and how Great Salt Lake must be included. The future of Great Salt Lake is now and the forum was a great opportunity to spotlight that.