Utah Water Watch (UWW) is a water quality education and data collection program that seeks to increase awareness about the importance of water quality and promote stewardship of Utah’s aquatic resources.
Attend one of the following Spring Training Dates:
Saturday, May 27th, 10:15-2:00 at the Herriman Library
Friday, June 2nd, 10:00-1:00 at the Park City Library
Thursday, June 22nd, 10:15-4:00 at the Logan Library
Wednesday, July 19th, 9:00-1:00 at USU Roosevelt Campus
Thursday, July 20th, 9:00-3:00 at USU Roosevelt Campus
SALT LAKE CITY — It happened last week to Deer Creek and Causey and will likely happen at East Canyon sometime this week.
Northern Utah reservoirs that for five years struggled to fill are now emptying water through spillways, structures specifically built to control the safe release of floodwaters downstream.
Weber Basin Water Conservancy District | Aaron Thorup, Weber Basin Water Conservancy District
FRIENDS of Great Salt Lake
May 9, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
FRIENDS of Great Salt Lake Education Director Honored by USEE
FRIENDS of Great Salt Lake is proud to announce that our Education and Outreach Director, Janessa Edwards, is the recipient of the 2017 Environmental Educator of the Year Award presented by the Utah Society for Environmental Education (USEE).
Janessa Edwards directs Lakeside Learning field trips to Antelope Island State Park and Great Salt Lake Marina State Park, which focus on inquiry-based, participatory education incorporating science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) to reinforce the Utah State Core Curriculum standards.
In 2016, Edwards’ work reached over 2,000 students, many of whom coming from underrepresented populations.
In addition to Lakeside Learning field trips, Edwards also sustains community partnerships with the Natural History Museum of Utah where she directs summer camps and Art Access Gallery where she helps students who have cognitive and physical disabilities access Great Salt Lake ecosystems and respond via art.
Moreover, Edwards also directs FRIENDS of Great Salt Lake’s outreach programs, which include environmental education opportunities for the general public at events including Spider Fest (Antelope Island State Park), Great Salt Lake Bird Festival, and International Coastal Cleanup.
As Margie Nash writes in her nomination of Janessa Edwards, “Never one to sit still, Janessa has very aggressive continuing education goals. Her passion for learning and being in the outdoors herself is matched by the passion and determination to share the natural world with others.”
FRIENDS of Great Salt Lake proudly recognizes Janessa Edwards in her accomplishment as 2017 Environmental Educator of the Year and her ongoing commitment to preserve and protect Great Salt Lake ecosystems through education.
A celebration will be held in Janessa’s honor on Friday, May 26th at 4:00 PM at Water Witch.
For more information on Janessa Edwards and FRIENDS of Great Salt Lake’s Educational programming visit www.fogsl.org
Congratulations to Melody Lindsay, she is the 2017 scholarship recipient for her work entitled Effects of Changing Salinity on Microbialite-Associated Primary Producers and Secondary Consumers in Great Salt Lake.
Click here to read her full proposal and for more information on the award ceremony to be held on May 18th, 2017.Click here to read her full proposal and for more information on the award ceremony to be held on May 18th, 2017.
Great Salt Lake artist, Rosalie Winard's work, "Birds Don't Pay Taxes" (photography and video), will be shown along with work from Laura Hope Mason and Barbara Ellard at Finch Lane Gallery.
Opening Reception and Gallery Stroll on Friday, April 21, 6:00-9:00 pm
Rosalie Winard's Gallery Talk on Friday, May 19 at 6:00 pm
Invest in the future of our local natural resources!
When you donate to FRIENDS, you're supporting our Lakeside Learning Field Trip Program! This program gets students out of the classroom and into the brine.
We believe in the power of science and in educating a new generation of environmentally engaged learners!
Great Salt Lake is our classroom as we explore ways to help young learners make connections in the natural world.
The money raised through this campaign goes directly towards bus grants for schools, field trip supplies, and state park entry fees!
Executive Director’s Message – Winter 2017
Great Salt Lake – A Body of Work that Must be Included in our Vision for Utah’s Water Future
“Show up. Dive in. Stay at it!”
-The 44th President of the United States - Barack Obama in his final address to the American people –January 10, 2017.
Nice snow. Nice rain too. As of February 1, 2017, snowpack in most of the 15 watershed basins around the state has exceeded what would normally constitute early April peak accumulations. According to the Utah Water Supply Outlook Report that’s published each month by the National Weather and Climate Center, the succession of snowstorms from Christmas through early January translated into these impressive results. At that time, the snowpack was ranging from approximately125% to 160% of normal. Currently, many of these watersheds are running “between 160% - 220% of normal - an increase of 25% - 65% over what was already a good situation.” When compared with last year, conditions look promising for soil moisture levels, reservoir storage and stream-flow. However, based on the status quo, if this trend continues it’s likely that spring runoff conditions could be dicey.
The National Weather and Climate Center is part of the NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service) in the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Using data generated by SNOTEL (Snow Telemetry), the reports provide timely updates on snow and precipitation levels around the state so that all of us can have a sense of how the second most arid state in the nation is doing as far as water that’s falling from the sky.
But what’s disappointing about the report is that Great Salt Lake is not accounted for in this important picture. In fact, in the maps of Statewide Precipitation, and Statewide Snow Water Equivalent our Lake isn’t even labeled on the landscape. For a terminal lake that’s located at the bottom of a 22, 000 sq. mi hydrologic drainage basin and relies heavily on precipitation and inflows from upstream water sources – the Bear, Weber/Ogden and Jordan Rivers, surely it’s an oversight that nothing is mentioned about it in the context of Utah’s water picture. This doesn’t bode well for a system that generates $1.3B annually for the state and regional economies. And it doesn’t bode well for this unique hemispheric oasis for resident populations of wildlife and for millions of migratory birds that rely on its diversity of habitats and protein rich food sources for resting, staging and nesting.
It’s common knowledge that in 2016, Great Salt Lake hit record low lake elevations. This is because climate change also known as the climate regime continues to create drought cycles and higher temperatures that hasten snowpack meltdown, changes snow to rain and increases evaporation. Exacerbated by upstream diversions that prevent critical inflows into the system, as the Lake’s surface area begins to shrink the lakebed is exposed to winds that create dust events. This dust contributes to already problematic air quality conditions along the Wasatch Front. That’s why in the revision of the September 2016 Draft of the Governor’s 50 -Year State Water Strategy (draft strategy) that’s currently underway - it’s imperative that responsible recommendations that address Great Salt Lake’s water future are incorporated.
Draft strategy? What draft strategy?
With an eye on the projected doubling of Utah’s population by 2060 and how to reconcile this with managing the state’s water resources, in 2013 Governor Herbert initiated a 50-Year State Water Strategy. The strategy is supposed to “define priorities, inform water policy, and chart a path to maintaining and constructing needed infrastructure without breaking the bank or drying up our streams.” And it’s supposed to include “extensive public input to guide the process.” Kudos to the Governor for providing us with continuing opportunities to reckon with Utah’s water future and to exercise our commitment to effectively plan for it.
Using momentum from former Governor Leavitt’s water conservation goal to reduce municipal and industrial (M&I) use by 25% by 2050, Herbert upped the ante to achieve the reduction by 2025. Right now, we’ve reached 18% and that’s commendable but we can’t stop at 2025. When you think about it, in-home water use constitutes only 4% of all the water we use. So if we continue to be judicious in our water conservation practices – and that should include industrial uses too - we should be able to provide water to twice as many people with our existing supplies and without developing new sources – climate change aside. Holding to this standard continues to make room for our natural systems that need protection and have a direct effect on our quality of life.
Just as education has changed our behavior about littering and wearing seatbelts, we’ve got to continue practicing good water conservation measures because we simply can’t afford to be profligate with this precious resource. If we’re going to be honest about Utah’s water future, we have to begin by shaking up the basic assumptions we have about our relationship with water and its utility, and perhaps even our assumptions about growth in the second driest state in the country.
Work on developing the 50-Year State Water Strategy began in the summer of 2013 with a series of 8 statewide scoping meetings. The “listening sessions” provided an opportunity for citizens to express their ideas about Utah’s water future and ways to address water challenges. The meetings were hosted by a task force of six people involved in Utah’s water world – two water conservancy districts, a former director of the Division of Water Resources, a former State Engineer, a representative from Farmland Reserve, Inc, and Trout Unlimited. Discussions included recreation and the environment, climate change, population growth, water law, water for agriculture, delivery and efficiency, competing interests, and funding water infrastructure. With the addition of online comments an impressive amount of input was gathered and summarized in a series of white papers presented to the Governor that fall. You can review the comments and hear recordings of the sessions by visiting www.utahswater.org
At the same time, a State Water Strategy Advisory Team representing a range of interests and expertise from around the state that included water conservancy districts, academics, conservationists, attorneys, planners, government agencies, politicos and FRIENDS was appointed by Governor Herbert.
The Advisory Team would work through an Envision Utah (EU) modeling process to “identify Utah’s choices related to water, create 5 water scenarios for the EU 2050 Your Utah Your Future visioning process scheduled for roll out in April 2015, participate in the process, and provide the Governor with a Draft 50-Year State Water Strategy on which he and other policymakers could build a vision and framework for water issues going forward.”
From 2013 - 2015+ under the direction of Envision Utah facilitators assisted by 3 co-chairs involved in the statewide listening sessions, the Advisory Team was “guided” through discussions intended to shape the water scenarios. Unfortunately, this facilitated exercise limited our ability to delve fully and more objectively into provocative and pithy aspects of the future of our water resources such as questioning baseline assumptions with a bias toward structural supply enhanced solutions. And it also limited the scope of the scenarios on offer for the public to consider as a water vision for the future. As a result, we weren’t able to address important matters such as-
I could go on but the point is that none of these things were adequately discussed which created great frustration for many of us who are sincerely committed to the effort and hoping for a sea change in our usual water ethic. Alas.
Fast forward to September 13, 2016 when the Advisory Team was called back together after a hiatus of almost 20 months to review the September 2016 Draft of the Governor’s 50-Year State Water Strategy http://envisionutah.org/projects/utah-water-strategy. A draft strategy that would ONLY invite comments from the Advisory Team and who would ONLY have 3 weeks to provide them. It wasn’t pretty. The public protested as did many members of the Advisory Team. The deadline for comments was extended and the public was invited to participate. Fast forward to February 2017.
Although the work continues on revising the draft strategy the process has changed. The co-chairs have given us a long rein to “create a worthwhile outcome from this long undertaking and write the ending to this story as you see fit.” And we’ve taken this to heart. Without facilitation, we’ve self -selected to work in small groups that meet at different times and at different venues. As we focus on the 12 key policy questions that comprise the draft strategy, our discussions are more open, engaging and energetic as we address the task before us. Our collective goal is to produce a meaningful tool that’s durable and has integrity. Perhaps we can be the first step in a new era in water policy. We’ll have to see.
As Joanna Endter-Wada, Associate Professor in the Department of Environment and Society at Utah State University, and Advisory Team cohort said as we were working on the draft revision, “We’re talking about the need to be nimble and adaptive, practical and proactive in our approach. And we need to evaluate the future of water planning and its relevance to land use planning and economic planning so that it’s cohesive and resilient in the scheme of sustainability thinking for Utah’s population and our precious natural systems that includes Great Salt Lake.
The Alfred Lambourne Prize is open for submissions in four artistic categories: visual art, literary art, sound, and movement. Submit here between March 1 and May 15.
In 2014, FRIENDS of Great Salt Lake established The Alfred Lambourne Prize, an annual recognition and celebration of regional creativity inspired by our Inland Sea.
Prizes of $400 will be awarded to winners in each category during a gallery reception at the Sorenson Unity Center on September 8, 2017.
On behalf of Urmia Lake Restoration Program, I wish you and your dears a very happy new year. Hope you have a great time ahead. The following greetings card is the photo of Flamingos in Urmia Lake.
I would like to use this opportunity to update you on Urmia Lake Restoration Program (ULRP)
You know that Urmia Lake located in north west of Iran is drying for last two decades because of climate change, improper water use especially in agriculture sector and damming the supplying rivers. It lost almost 90% of the of the area and water. The winter migrant Flamingos and White Pelicans are not coming to the lake because of dryness and hyper salinity. It reached above 500 gr/lit, which was 200 gr/lit originally. The dried bed of the lake contains almost 10 billion tones of salt, which can be carried over by wind to the farms and towns up to 500 km.
The government of Iran took initiative in 2014 and developed a 10-year program named ULRP to save the lake. Fortunately, the program is working very well and could increase water level by 30 cm comparing to the last year, 22 Dec. 2015. The following chart shows the fluctuation of water level of the lake during last for years. It would better to mention that the deepest part of the lake is 2 meter at the present, which was 16 meter before desiccation.
The restoration of Urmia Lake is very complicated and needs technical support of world scientists and success stories of the other countries.
It will be highly appreciated if you support us to save our lake by sharing your valuable experiences to bring Pelicans and Flamingos back to Urmia Lake.
I would like to invite you to see video clip on Urmia Lake
International Cooperation Division
Urmia Lake Restoration Program
Seasons Greetings to you Hossein,
Thank you for your kind regards and for the update on Lake Urmia, which is certainly a very positive update. This of course adds to our sense of happiness for the coming New Year and for the future of our sister saline system so thank you twice. ( - :
It’s certainly fortuitous that the government of Iran took the initiative to address the great needs of Urmia and to say the least, the results that have occurred since 2014 - such a short time - are very impressive. Have you been experiencing significant moisture that has contributed to this condition? Lucky you. And lucky Lake. Please share what has contributed to this improvement.
In the meantime, although Great Salt Lake is still struggling here in Utah the current elevation in the south arm of Great Salt Lake is 4,192.3’ which is certainly a welcome change from our prolonged historic low elevations 4.191’ and below, but time will tell how this improvement perpetuates. On Christmas eve and day we received at least 6” of snow in the Salt Lake valley with significant accumulations (2’ +/- in the mountains. This is exactly the kind of weather cycle that we all hope for this time of year, and with any luck, it will continue through the spring and translate into welcome runoff.
In the meantime, on behalf of FRIENDS of Great Salt Lake, I wish you all a peaceful and prosperous New Year with good health, good friends and good things for Lake Urmia.
In seasonal saline,
Lynn de Freitas
FRIENDS of Great Salt Lake
The deadline to apply is March 17, 2017
FRIENDS of Great Salt Lake (FoGSL) is seeking applicants for the 2017 Doyle W. Stephens Scholarship. This $1,000 scholarship provides support to undergraduate or graduate students engaged in new or on-going research.
This $1,000 scholarship provides support to undergraduate or graduate students engaged in new or on-going research that focuses on Great Salt Lake and/or the lake ecosystem or watershed. We will consider research projects from any academic field (for instance: ecology, biology, chemistry, physics, geography, geology, urban planning, social sciences, communications, education, economics, tourism, engineering, etc.). The scholarship may also be used to support research internships.