Jeff DenBleyker

Project Manager and Water Resources Engineer



Jeff has been a project manager and water resources engineer at CH2M in Salt Lake City since 1996. He has led a wide variety of permitting, investigation, and design projects covering water quality, hydrology, ecotoxicology, the assessment and restoration of streams and wetlands, and constructed treatment wetlands. Jeff’s focus is helping form solutions that integrate science with the people and uses that are affected. Jeff led the State’s effort to develop site-specific numeric criteria for selenium for GSL, has been involved with efforts to develop nutrient water quality standards for GSL, and is the State’s project manager the GSL Integrated Water Resources Management Model.

Title: What's going to happen to Great Salt Lake

10:30am - Thursday, May 12th

Presenters: Jeff DenBleyker, Laura Vernon

Abstract: Is Great Salt Lake drying up?  How might forecasted population and economic growth in Northern Utah change water levels in the lake?  How might an extended drought affect the lake?  What does that mean to Great Salt Lake’s natural resources, the economic and ecological benefits that are derived from them, and the people who live near its shores?  These are all questions the State of Utah has been grappling with that this project hopes to help begin to answer.

A recurring challenge for State regulatory and resource agencies is defining and understanding how variable precipitation and water management in Great Salt Lake’s watershed can influence the lake’s water levels and salinity and subsequently the resources the lake supports.  State agencies have not had an effective tool at their disposal that integrates available information to better understand these issues and support sustainable management of Great Salt Lake resources – until now.

The purpose of the Great Salt Lake IWRM model project is to provide state agencies and stakeholders with a tool that:

  1. Describes how changes in water management and availability in Great Salt Lake and its watershed could impact the lake’s water levels and salinity,
  2. Could be used to evaluate potential impacts to and changes in the lake’s resources, and
  3. Will serve as a foundation for addressing future management challenges.

This tool will allow State agencies to understand the lake’s drivers of change, understand the potential changes and risks Great Salt Lake and its resources may encounter, incorporate these findings into planning efforts, and sustainably manage the lake’s economic and ecological resources. 

This session will provide an overview of the need for and purpose of this tool, a description of our approach for model development, and a preview of the model’s interface. 

Abstract Summary: Changes in Great Salt Lake have historically been dramatic.  State agencies are creating a tool that will describe how changes in the lake’s watershed and climate could impact its water levels and salinity.  This tool will serve as a foundation for future management of the lake’s economic and ecological resources.