Great Salt Lake

Largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere is at risk due to increasing water demands, long term drought, and climate change.
Birds utilize Great Salt Lake each year
Economic impact of Great Salt Lake (adjusted for inflation from 2012)
The year the lake reached it's lowest level in recorded history

Great Salt Lake—the largest saline lake in the Western Hemisphere—is a crucial and irreplaceable ecosystem, and it’s in crisis. Today the lake faces historic low water levels from increased water demand and decreasing river flows, resulting in rising salinity. This threatens Utah's birds, ecosystems, water systems, economy, and people.

National Audubon Society, in partnership with The Nature Conservancy, established the Great Salt Lake Watershed Enhancement Trust for the benefit of Great Salt Lake, its wetlands and hydrology. The Trust’s mission is to help preserve the lake’s irreplaceable wetlands and waters by fostering collaborative partnerships and innovative water projects for the benefit of people and wildlife. Read more about the Trust here:

In November 2023, the Trust awarded $8.5 million to eight wetlands projects from local, state, federal, and non-governmental entities with the aim to protect and/or restore wetlands and benefit the hydrology of Great Salt Lake.  Read more.

Efforts include protecting and enhancing water flows to Great Salt Lake, conserving, protecting, and restoring wetlands and habitats in surrounding ecosystems, leveraging funding, and improving water distribution and management planning efforts.

With Audubon’s expertise in both Western water policy and conservation science, we are uniquely positioned to identify long-term water-management solutions that will secure a reliable water supply for Great Salt Lake and for the birds, businesses, and Utahns that depend on it.

Gillmor Sanctuary

Audubon manages the 2,738-acre Gillmor Sanctuary and 305-acre Lee Creek Area along the southeastern shoreline of Great Salt Lake. The Sanctuary and adjacent land offers diverse habitats for birds, including wetlands critical for shorebirds.

Over the past 20 years, Audubon’s stewardship of this area significantly increased the population of nesting water birds, including American Avocets, Wilson’s Phalarope, Black-necked Stilts, Cinnamon Teal, and Gadwall. The preserve also provides essential resources for migrating Marbled Godwits, Least and Western Sandpipers, and Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, as well as thousands of migrating waterfowl including Tundra Swans.

Through the establishment of the preserve, Audubon and partners protect and restore one of the last remaining undiked delta systems along Great Salt Lake. Learn more about Gillmor Sanctuary.

Great Salt Lake News