Western Water News

Saline Lakes and Great Salt Lake in the News

The Great Salt Lake Audubon Chapter and National Audubon raised awareness in the media to the plight of birds and the shrinking saline lakes they rely on, garnering particular attention to the concerns at Great Salt Lake and its surrounding wetlands ecosystem.

According to a 2016 research paper1, water development over the last 150 years has reduced river flows to Great Salt Lake by an estimated 39 percent, leading to roughly an 11 foot drop in lake levels and a 48 percent reduction in lake volume. Potential increases in upstream water diversions, coupled with drought, climate change and other pressures could have severe consequences for the habitat and the millions of birds that depend on Great Salt Lake annually.

Just days before the National Audubon Society convention in Park City, Audubon released Water and Birds in the Arid West: Habitats in Decline. The report highlighted the threats birds face from the declining water levels at Western region saline lakes and their associated wetlands from Great Salt Lake in Utah to Salton Sea in California, Lake Abert in Oregon and others.

Fox 13 Television reporter Max Roth interviewed Great Salt Lake Audubon President Heather Dove and Conservation Chair Deborah Drain, as well as Audubon’s Director of Saline Lakes Program, Marcelle Shoop. Much of the story was reported from the Edward L, and Charles F. Gillmor Sanctuary on the southern shore of Great Salt Lake, which has been owned and managed by National Audubon for more than 20 years to provide essential shorebird habitat. At Gillmor, a historic river delta has been restored as productive bird habitat by delivering water at the right times and places. Ella Sorensen is the Sanctuary Manager and has extensive knowledge of birds—particularly shorebirds. Heidi Hoven, a wetlands ecologist, is the Assistant Manager of the Gillmor Sanctuary.

Salt Lake City media coverage also included reports in the Salt Lake Tribune and on KNRS Talk Radio.

Fox 13 Television News

Part 1 - New project aims to fight threat from a dry Great Salt Lake, Max Roth reporting July 14, 2017 (Note: that the identifications of Heather Dove and Deborah Drain are switched and Ann Meville is Ann Neville, The Nature Conservancy, Utah)

Part 2 – Great Salt Lake Levels threaten birds, are people next? – Max Roth reporting July 21, 2017

Salt Lake Tribune

The Great Salt Lake is half its natural size. Here’s why that worries the Audubon Society and what the group plans to do about it. Salt Lake Tribune environment reporter, Emma Penrod interviewed Marcelle Shoop, the new Saline Lakes Program Director. July 15, 2017

Local Talk Radio – KNRS

Ella Sorensen, manager of National Audubon's Gillmor Sanctuary on the south shore of Great Salt Lake was interviewed on the Rod Arquette Show, July 18, 2017. (Scroll to time marker 1:36:45)
 


1 Wurtsbaugh, W., Miller, C. et al. Impacts of Water Development on Great Salt Lake and the Wasatch Front. (2016).

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