Conflicting Interests Target Declining Great Salt Lake

07 November 2016 Published in News & Events

SALT LAKE CITY (CN) - A steady drop in the Western Hemisphere's largest saltwater lake, drained by decades of water consumption, is affecting millions of migratory birds, and could bring major consequences for Utah tourism, industry and residents.
     The Great Salt Lake, a remnant of the Glacial Age's Lake Bonneville, has reached near record-low levels, a recent study shows, exposing half of the natural lake's bed.
     State university and community college faculty, joined by Division of Wildlife Resources and Water Resources workers, published "Impacts of Water Development on Great Salt Lake and the Wasatch Front" in April this year.
     The white paper cites droughts and floods as short-term factors to the decline, but water management schemes, including consumption and mineral extraction are the major culprits in the 48 percent decline of the water level.

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Why We Care

  • 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