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These are the 10 reasons Utahns can save the Great Salt Lake, a state official says

May 13, 2024 by Nicole Masson
State

These are the 10 reasons Utahns can save the Great Salt Lake, a state official says

by Megan Banta, The Salt Lake Tribune- Published through the Great Salt Lake Collaborative, Link

Utahns know the challenge ahead to save the Great Salt Lake is “daunting — so much so that nobody else in the world has gotten it right,” said Candice Hasenyager, director of the Utah Division of Water Resources.

The ailing Great Salt Lake has been shrinking consistently for over a decade and hasn’t reached an elevation of 4,198 feet — its minimum level in the healthy range — since 2002.

Elevation in the south arm was up to 4,195 feet on Friday afternoon, as measured at the Saltair Boat Harbor. That’s a yard short of healthy but, according to officials, is a much better level for the lake’s ecology.

Hasenyager gave reasons to hope for a healthy lake during the final informational session of the biennial Great Salt Lake Issues Forum, which concluded Friday at the University of Utah Guest House and Conference Center.

Over three days, most speakers expressed hope for the lake’s future. Hasenyager tied those ideas into a bow, listing 10 reasons Utah can do what others haven’t by protecting and sustaining the Great Salt Lake.

(Below is a abbreviated inclusion, grab the link for the full article)

1. Unprecedented legislative support and funding

Support is coming from the highest levels, Hasenyager said.

The past three years have brought “amazing” work, she said, from water policy changes to investment in the lake and water conservation.

2. New tools

Tools allowing such things as splitting leases and water banking allow for more flexibility as the state engineer moves water, Hasenyager said.

3. Expanded research and data

Hasenyager specifically cited the findings of a gap analysis by Jacobs Engineering Group. That 78-page document looked to “identify the strengths of current programs, gaps in available resources, and opportunities for capacity development” related to the Great Salt Lake Basin Integrated Plan.

4. Increased measurement

Measuring water is a “critical piece” to manage it and know where it’s going, Hasenyager said, and there are efforts underway to add more monitoring tools.

5. Supersized education and outreach

Hasenyager said she thinks there’s been a “pretty amazing” amount of communication about the lake.

6. Strategic planning for the future

There’s a “significant amount of planning going on” about the future of the lake and its watershed, Hasenyager said.

7. Office of the Great Salt Lake Commissioner

8. Successful reduction of water usage across all sectors

9. ‘Merciful Mother Nature’

10. ‘All of you’

 

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