Advocacy & Current Issues

Why We Advocate for Great Salt Lake

"Protecting the environment is not like building a highway or painting a building. You can't do it and walk away from further work. You must stay everlastingly at it, or things begin to slide."

Wm. D. Ruckelshaus, 1st and 5th EPA Administrator

At the 1996 Biennial Great Salt Lake Issues Forum, six major threats to the Great Salt Lake Ecosystem were identified.

  • Ignorance about the Lake
  • Development in the uplands and wetlands
  • Diverting riverine and instream flows that would normally enter the Lake
  • Discharges into the Lake from industry and a growing population
  • Water for the system
  • Climate change

Using these threats as guidelines for our Lake work, we are strategically moving forward on a variety of fronts to preserve and protect this hemispherically important ecosystem.

Located next to a growing metropolitan area, with a population predicted to surpass 5 million people by 2050, the ecological and economic sustainability of Great Salt Lake poses an interesting challenge. The Lake not only generates billions of economic dollars for the State but is an extremely fragile and complex system.

FRIENDS of Great Salt Lake's mission is protecting the Great Salt Lake ecosystem through educaiton, research, advocacy, and the arts. We strive to build collaborative partnerships to promote Great Salt Lake watershed health and habitat sustainability. And when necessary, work with legal resources to elevate the importance of these issues to get the attention needed for responsible results. As long as the Great Salt Lake Ecosystem is dealt with as an isolated drying up body of water, its importance will always be marginalized when confronted with the "needs of the people."


New Breach Allows Flow on Great Salt Lake

06 December 2016
The new Great Salt Lake breach was opened on Dec. 1 by the Union Pacific Railroad Company. This created a new opening between the north and the south arm of the Lake, allowing water to flow between the two sides. This time-lapse video shows the breach opening, which took about…

Kennecott Withdrawal Win for Air Quality

26 October 2015
Air quality advocates are expressing their appreciation this week for the recent news that Kennecott Copper has abandoned its plans to construct a new rock crusher plant as part of the mine's overall expansion effort. Press Release - Kennecott Withdrawal Win for Air Quality

Why is Utah Fast-Tracking the Permit for a Massive Expansion of Kennecott's Tailings Impoundment?

07 August 2013
The Utah Division of Water Quality (DWQ) has issued a draft modification for the Ground Water Discharge Permit (UGW350011) for the proposed expansion of the Kennecott Utah Copper Tailings Impoundment. Public comments are due August 12, 2013. The conservation community has a number of concerns about the adequacy and the…

Remember the Legacy Highway? Here We Go Again!

03 June 2013
UDOT is proposing to build a $600M+ freeway through West Davis and Weber Counties. The high speed 4 lane elevated freeway will cut through neighborhoods, family farms, wildlife habitat and wetlands while increasing vehicle miles traveled, exacerbate poor air quality conditions, impact water quality, and change the landscape forever. Attend…

Why We Care

  • The whole environment of Great Salt Lake is a place of wonder. Life abounds in water, on islands, and about the marshland edges where migratory birds find refuge during long flights north and south. It is also a source of income for companies around its rim (unfortunately). Challenges for the Lake today are balancing acts. We must continue to foster the generous gifts the Lake provides for wildlife, community, and visitors as well as make peace with the human intrusions that threaten not only the Lake’s beauty, but also its very existence as the bountiful center of a thriving community along the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains.

    Maurine Haltiner, Alfred Lambourne Prize Participant