July 07, 2022

Fox 13 News: Great Salt Lake drops to new historic low

By: Ben Winslow

Posted at 11:40 AM, Jul 05, 2022 and last updated 5:41 PM, Jul 05, 2022

Click here to read the full article on the Fox 13 News website.

SALT LAKE CITY  — The Great Salt Lake has dropped to a new historic low, FOX 13 News has confirmed.

The imperiled lake has dropped to 4,190.1, below last year's record low of 4,190.2 feet.

"It’s come a little sooner than anticipated," said Joel Ferry, the executive director of Utah's Department of Natural Resources. "It just shows the broader issue with the drought, with the changing climate, the consumption we’re seeing and the demand for water in the state of Utah is indicative of the Great Salt Lake."

The Great Salt Lake has already dropped more than 11 feet since it was first measured in 1847. Its massive decline presents an ecological catastrophe for the state of Utah. The lake generates snowpack, acts as a refuge for millions of migratory birds and other wildlife, and creates billions in economic development through mineral extraction and recreation.

The exposed lakebed itself has toxins in it that can, over time, pose a public health hazard when dust storms carry it into populated areas.

"As the wind blows, we’re seeing more dusty days. As the lake declines, we’re seeing less snowpack," said Ferry.

Environmental groups were not surprised by it, but hoped the news of the lake's new record low is a call to action.

"Many people have been in somewhat denial about it but it’s time to own up to where we are," said Lynn de Freitas, the executive director of Friends of Great Salt Lake.

She told FOX 13 News in an interview Tuesday it was not too late to save the lake.

Click here to continue reading this article on the Fox 13 News website.