Our Salt Lake
I heard some info about our future in this state regarding the Great Salt Lake. Frankly, it put chills up my spine and made me wonder if I should be thinking of an exit plan before it’s too late to get the hell out of Dodge because our lake is dying FAST and the outcome is going to be horrific!
Our photographed, but much maligned lake is about 75 miles long and 28 miles wide covering @1700 square miles, and is the largest lake of it’s kind in the western hemisphere. It is also one of the most important bodies of water for bird migration in this same hemisphere, and if the lake dies, millions of migratory birds will also die…as wells mammals, plants, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates. Many of you reading this don’t know that part of the lake is fresh water and is fed by northern streams. This is where our avian friends like to rest before migrating north or south. According to Westminster College’s Great Salt Lake Institute millions of birds from 257 known species rely on our funky, salty lake to survive.
The southern portion of the GSL is now at a historic new low-with some levels only 1.5 feet deep. There is algae and tiny creatures there that the brine shrimp feed on, and all those birds love to get fat on those sea monkeys (aka brine shrimp). If those creatures all die, then the birds will die. As the lake dries up from poor runoff that leads into the north and south sections, more dust will get into our air. U.S Magnesium Corp. mines the lake and provides 14% of the world’s supply of the mineral that’s used in all sorts of metal products. Companies also take potash (fertilizer) and salt for seasonings, plastics, roads and detergents. All that gets into our air and ends up in the winter on top of our snow. That dust and color change affects our snow melt. Lower snow melt means less water for the lake. Do you see the trending circle of hell?
Our legislature passed a bill a few years back that basically states ‘Our lake is important to the state and it should have water’. However this bill did nothing to fund programs to increase water flow to the lake.
Every hour on the hour radio and TV news squawk about Covid and what it’s doing to our country. I rarely see news about how scary it’s going to be if and when our lake no longer produces the food necessary in the environmental chain of life in Utah. Odd, but most local television news that I watch gives regular reports on Lake Powell, Echo, Sand Hollow, Bear Lake, etc. but never a regular report on our Great Salt Lake. The professor I listened to said that come this November we may reach the tipping point that the lake won’t come back from this drought and we’re in for bad news on the horizon.