Wednesday, 07 December 2016 09:18

Great Salt Lake Causeway Breach

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.

We are still getting lots of pictures and videos of the breach and we will be posting them here, http://fogsl.org/advocacy/item/586-new-breach-allows-flow-on-the-great-salt-lake

Tuesday, 06 December 2016 15:40

New Breach Allows Flow on Great Salt Lake

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 two hours.

Before the new breach was opened, the north arm of Great Salt Lake was at a historic low. Water had stopped flowing through the old Great Salt Lake causeway breach, preventing water travel between the southern and northern portions. Water levels in the south arm were approximately 3.3 feet higher than the north arm when the breach was opened.

The USGS is monitoring discharge through the new breach in cooperation with Utah Department of Environmental Quality.

The USGS provides real-time lake elevation readings for both the north arm (http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ut/nwis/uv/?site_no=10010100) and south arm (http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ut/nwis/uv/?site_no=10010000) of Great Salt Lake. These gauging stations will be a valuable resource to observe the water level changes as the two portions of the lake combine and even out.

The USGS maintains a record of Great Salt Lake elevations dating back to 1847 and has continuously measured the elevation of the lake since 1938.

 

 Thank you to Dr. Wayne Wurtsbaugh for these images. You can see more images of the breach here!

GSL Breach Opening 1697

The Breach looking northward into Gunnison Bay

GSL Breach Opening 1707

Strong flow into Gunnison Bay

GSL Breach Opening 1737

Langmuir Circulation cells (parallel streaks) and foam on Gunnison.  Each stream is probably separated from the next by 10-15'

 

GSL Breach Opening 1745

Gunnison "Island", with Compass Mineral dike and ponds in background

GSL Breach Opening 1701 

I was born and raised in Salt Lake City. The lake has always summoned a feeling of being a secret and obscure place, almost untouchable and surreal.

Max Rosenzweig, Alfred Lambourne Prize Participant

The Great Salt Lake evokes wonder and mystery alone, it's vastness and solitude a splendor to behold. The Spiral Jetty, by assuming the spiral shape referenced time and again by cultures and physicists, is a vehicle for contemplation, journeying, perfection. Robert Smithson chose the Great Salt Lake as a setting for his artwork thoughtfully. He knew the combination would be magical.

Susan Kirby, Alfred Lambourne Prize Participant

 

Several years ago I was enchanted by Alfred Lambourne’s romanticized paintings of the Great Salt Lake, so began my own quest to explore its islands and capture what I saw in quick, plein air, oil sketches.

I made many day-trips to Black Rock and spent a significant amount of time camping on Stansbury and Antelope Islands, climbing their trails and swimming in their bays. My paintings became my diary as I observed the changing light and shadow on the rocks and water. The brine flies and gnats often hovered over my shoulder anxious to immortalize themselves in the sticky colorful oil paint.

Kirk Henrichsen, Alfred Lambourne Prize Participant

I am alone in this place. I can see for miles in every direction and I am utterly alone. The beauty seeps into my soul in the stillness and I am cured of ailments I don't even realize I have.

Douglas Havens, Alfred Lambourne Prize Participant

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

I grew up in Clinton, Utah, not far from the Great Salt Lake. From a young age the lake became a place of recreation, discovery, and solace. Every visit to its shores provides a unique and inspiring experience.

Justin Wheatley, Alfred Lambourne Prize Participant

Years ago the Great Salt Lake was a entertainment destination for the people of Salt Lake City. One of my ancestors had a vacation home near Black Rock, where he would take his family to escape the heat and cares of the city. That was a long time ago and a lot has changed since then. For many reasons the lake is not as popular as it once was. But it has been a source of peace, contemplation, and inspiration to me. I reflect on photos I have seen of the grand days of Saltair and the love of floating in the lake. I have done this myself on numerous occasions. I love the sensation of effortlessly floating. And we can escape the cares of the world.

Clinton Whiting, Alfred Lambourne Prize Participant

Great Salt Lake, the second most hypersaline Inland Sea in the world, has a fate of becoming even more salty with permanent loss of a large portion of its Bear River fresh water life supply.

Precious fresh water diverted to support more of the same, the endless expansion of the human race, big box stores, and shopping centers duplicated around the country ruining any future adventure of small town exploration and road trips.

Everything is becoming the same. Everyone is looking the same. Everyone does the same things. Great Salt Lake is unique and the planet is loosing it as its life blood is stolen from its soft salty shores, waves gently breaking further and further out, leaving vast arrays of dry barren mudflats waiting for phragmites to invade.

Utah does not own Great Salt Lake. Great Salt Lake is owned by the world.

Karri Smith, Alfred Lambourne Prize Participant

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Why We Care

  • I grew up in Clinton, Utah, not far from the Great Salt Lake. From a young age the lake became a place of recreation, discovery, and solace. Every visit to its shores provides a unique and inspiring experience.

    Justin Wheatley, Alfred Lambourne Prize Participant