The Utah Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry, Fire & State Lands requests proposals for research projects that will assist the Division in becoming better informed stewards of Great Salt Lake. It is the intent of the Division to gain a better understanding of the lake system which leads to informed decision making regarding long-term management of this important ecosystem.
The Great Salt Lake Tech Team, through its Research and Grants Subcommittee, has identified six “hot topics” that research projects will address in 2016, either individually or in combination:
- Bioherms/Stromatolites – Research could further identify characteristics of the unique structures that grow in the Great Salt Lake and the benefits that they provide to the ecosystem. Identification of optimal conditions that promote growth and stressors that cause impairment would be beneficial.
- Effects of dust from exposed lake beds of the Great Salt Lake – Does the increased exposure of a dry lake bed have adverse impacts on human health and agricultural viability in the Great Salt Lake basin?
- Impacts of increasing salinity on the biota of the Great Salt Lake - Increasing demands for fresh water in the Great Salt Lake basin have the potential to cause further decrease in overall lake levels and increase salinity. How does the increased concentration of salts impact the production of brine shrimp, brine flies and the birds that rely on the organisms for food?
- Mercury - Further characterize the fate and transport, biological process, and impacts of mercury on sensitive species and human health. Consider how the methylization of mercury is impacted with the closure of the culverts and the low lake levels.
- Salinity balance and cycle - Research could include analysis and quantification of riverine and atmospheric inputs to each bay and total extraction from the lake. Provide further understanding of the current salt crust on the GSL lakebed and how the salt crust impacts the lake’s overall salt balance. Examine the positive and negative implications of increased or decreased circulation between bays.
- Phragmites- Assessing and implementing approaches to manage Phragmites in the GSL watershed. Examine a range of revegetation strategies after Phragmites treatments.