Great Salt Lake Research - Good Science Informs Good Management
The GSL Ecosystem is a complex and unique saline ecosystem that is locally, regionally, hemispherically, and globally important. It provides a valuable mix of habitats from islands, open water, wetland complexes and uplands for native plant and wildlife populations. It also provides critical resting, staging and nesting capacity for over 260 avian species and millions of migratory birds.
The Lake is an important economic contributor to the State of Utah through a variety of ecosystem services that include mineral extraction, brine shrimp, recreation and tourism among others. It provides $1.3 B annually to the state’s economy.
The Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands in the Department of Natural Resources has jurisdictional responsibility for managing the Lake sustainably for future generations. The system is a hotbed of potential research opportunities that can help inform effective management decisions toward that end.
What follows are examples of some of the resources that are in place to help identify research needs and fund proposals that generate valuable science and insights about the system. These serve to increase our understanding so we can work to protect Great Salt Lake.
Meetings for all of these standing bodies are open to the public. We encourage you to attend these meetings and share your voice. In addition to good science, good management is informed by a well-educated community.
Utah Division of Forestry, Fire & State Lands
Great Salt Lake Advisory Council
Great Salt Lake is of hemispheric importance as both a refueling stop for millions of migratory birds and a nesting area for others. Eighty percent of Utah's wetlands surround the lake. The mineral extraction industry, duck hunting clubs, and the brine shrimp industry are dependent on the vitality of the lake. Nature enthusiasts flock to the lake because of its ecological importance. Utahans draw a significant amount of their heritage and identity from the lake.
Through adoption of House Bill 343 during the 2010 general session of the Utah Legislature, the Great Salt Lake Advisory Council was created to advise on the sustainable use, protection, and development of the Great Salt Lake.
Great Salt Lake Tech Team
Housed in the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire & State Lands (FFSL), the Great Salt Lake Technical Team exists to provide technical support to the Great Salt Lake Advisory Council. Originally established in 1988, its mission is to provide guidance and recommendations in the monitoring, management and research efforts of the Great Salt Lake ecosystem and to provide a forum for the interchange of information on ideas, projects, and programs that affect the activities and natural systems of the Great Salt Lake.
The Team meets approximately four times a year in a venue open to the public. The Team views research presentations, receives project updates, and discusses research and funding opportunities.
Additional Great Salt Lake Organizations
Great Salt Lake Ecosystem Program
The purpose of the Great Salt Lake Ecosystem Program (GSLEP) is to manage and conserve the avian and aquatic communities of Great Salt Lake through monitoring and research.
Great Salt Lake Alliance
Great Salt Lake Institute
Connecting people to Great Salt Lake through research and education.
Great Salt Lake Institute (GSLI) was established in 2008 with support from Westminster College and an external grant, allowing us to hire a coordinator, involve student employees, and purchase equipment to reach out to the community in a real way. We began by running community field trips and developing high school and college curriculum on GSL. Shortly thereafter, we created a GSLI summer undergraduate research program.
Utah Wetlands Foundation
Jordan River Watershed Council
The Jordan River Watershed Council is dedicated to the ecological and economic sustainability of the Jordan River watershed through the promotion of stakeholder involvement.
Jordan River Watershed Commission
The Commission's programs at Utah and Great Salt Lakes involves land acquisition, restoring acquired lands, fish habitat improvement and riparian restoration. To achieve measurable improvements, the Commission is coordinating with many communities and interests.
Bear River Regional Commission
Protecting Bear Lake Through Coordination, Cooperation and Education
The Bear Lake Regional Commission has become the organization that deals with managing growth on this unique regional resource, not always directly, but through it’s abilities to traverse multiple state and regional jurisdictions.