Farmington Bay is the next freshest region, with a salinity of approximately 60 parts per thousand (ppt) when GSL is at 4,200 feet (1,280.2 m) above sea level. It does not provide a submergent vegetation community due to the elevated salinity, but has a relatively complex plankton community compared to the south and north arms of the lake. It supports some important halophiles (for example, brine flies) in conjunction with some macroinvertebrates that tolerate diluted brine environments, but it is too saline to support a fishery. There is a significant wetlands influence in this region, often modified by the associated transitory shoreline, especially in the Layton/Kaysville Marsh area. . . . This effect is also visible at the south end of the bay, west of Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area (WMA). The open-water reaches of this region are an important waterfowl habitat in late fall and winter. The shorelines are important to breeding and migrating shorebirds.
From "Avian Ecology of Great Salt Lake" by Tom Aldrich and Don Paul in Great Salt Lake: An Overview of Change. (Edited by J. Wallace Gwynn, Ph.D., Special Publication of the Utah Department of Natural Resources, 2002.)
Farmington Bay is bounded on the west by Antelope Island, to the north by the Antelope Island causeway, and to the east be extensive wetlands, including Nature Conservancy property and those of Farmington Bay WMA. The south boundary is formed by an extensive shoreline with portions controlled by the State, duck clubs, private ranching and the National Audubon Society. A part of this shoreline has been developed in the southern causeway to Antelope Island.
Farmington Bay is recognized as a Globally Important Bird Area.
Farmington Bay has a rich variety of wetland resources and abundant waterbird use. It is a major part of the Great Salt Lake ecosystem. However, Farmington Bay functions somewhat independently from the other areas due to the major inflows from the Jordan River, the various wildlife management areas owned by the Division of Wildlife Resources, private duck clubs and The Nature Conservancy. Also, Farmington Bay is essentially diked off from Ogden Bay and Gilbert Bay. Farmington Bay provides habitat for a large number of the world's total population of specific bird species including American Avocet, Black-necked Stilt, California Gull, Cinnamon Teal, Northern Shoveler, Ruddy Duck, White-faced Ibis and Wilson's Phalarope.
Criterion UT-1: Sites important to endangered, threatened or species of special concern in Utah. (Explain below). Black Terns often use Farmington Bay in fairly large numbers during fall migration and they also nest at Farmington Bay. There is significant use of Farmington Bay by Bald Eagles during winter. Mid-Winter Bald Eagle surveys taken in January of each year show up to 103 Bald Eagles using Farmington Bay.
Criterion UT-2: Utah Partners in Flight Priority Species. (Explain below).
There are significant numbers of American Avocets and Black-necked Stilts as documented in 4 d below.
Criterion UT-3: Site containing species assemblages associated with a representative, rare or threatened natural community in Utah. (Explain below).
This category specifically mentions ?saline environments in close association with emergent marshes harboring populations of avocets and stilts.? This description fits areas of Farmington Bay, where there are significant concentrations of avocets and stilts.
Farmington Bay has a great amount of habitat diversity and the area is valuable for many more birds that those listed below. This includes waterbirds for which survey numbers are available as well as other birds for which major surveys have not been conducted.
The bird numbers below include the breeding season for a few particular species. These numbers come from the Great Salt Lake Waterbird Survey. This survey did not directly assess the breeding status of waterbirds within the boundaries of the study area. However, counts did include breeding waterbird species as they occurred within each survey site.
2A. Data from Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, Great Salt Lake Water Bird Survey for years 1998- 2001. 2B. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Mid-Winter Bald Eagle Surveys from 1996 through 2004. Data from Frank Howe and Kris Fehlberg. 2C. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Aerial Swan Surveys of the Great Salt Lake from 1996 to 2002. Data from Tom Aldrich, UDWR Waterfowl Coordinator.
The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources has significant data regarding waterbird use of Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area as well as Farmington Bay.