Goshen Bay is at the southeast end of Utah Lake. There are extensive mudflats and wet meadows, which transition to sheet water depending on lake elevation. Uplands include grasslands and shrub communities largely impacted by cattle grazing.
Goshen Bay and Benjamin Slough are part of the Utah Lake Wetland Preserve as part of the Utah Reclamation Mitigation and Conservation Commission (Mitigation Commission), which was authorized under the Central Utah Project Completion Act of 1992. The following information provides additional details about the preserve and is from the Mitigation Commission?s Annual Report 2002: The Utah Lake Wetland Preserve is being established and will be managed by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources to protect migratory birds, wildlife habitat and wetland values. . . . The core of the Preserve?s Goshen Bay unit has been the priority acquisition area. Core properties tie into properties owned by other state and federal agencies that were cooperators during development of the Utah Lake Wetland Preserve Plan. The Goshen Bay unit, as identified by Congress and in the plan for the Preserve, contains about 17,750 acres. About 13,020 acres are under management of project cooperators (Mitigation Commission, 4,490 acres; Bureau of Land Management, 4,030 acres; and State of Utah, 4,500 acres).?

Ornithological Summary

Criterion UT-1: Sites important to endangered, threatened or species of special concern in Utah.
There are significant numbers of American White Pelicans that use the area. Numbers are under 4(b) below. Caspian Terns use the area. Numbers are under 4(c) below. Long-billed Curlews use the area, but survey data is not available
Criterion UT-2: Utah Partners in Flight Priority Species.
There are American Avocets and Black-necked Stilts mentioned under 4(d) below. American White Pelicans use the area as already mentioned.

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources has started to do more comprehensive surveys of Provo Bay. Hopefully, this data collection will continue.

Access to this area is limiting in regards to educational opportunities. At the Benjamin Slough area more educational opportunities will be promoted. The Benjamin Slough area is closer to major cities in Utah County and a building within the Benjamin Slough area has already been acquired and can be used for nature education.

As the survey counts document, Goshen Bay provides important migratory habitat for numerous bird species. Also, due to the Central Utah Project Completion Act and the efforts of the Mitigation Commission as well as the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources in concert with other landowners such as BLM, this area is being and will be used to protect migratory birds, wildlife habitat and wetland values.

The following statement regarding Provo and Goshen Bay was made by Tom Aldrich, Waterfowl Program Coordinator, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources in July 2003:

Utah Lake is one of the most important wetland systems in Utah for waterfowl and shorebird populations in terms of actual bird use. However, not all of the lake is equally important. Approximately 90-95% of lake use occurs in both the Provo and Goshen Bays depending on lake levels. Shorebirds and migratory birds seek flat, shallow ponds on which to feed, rest, and breed. Therefore, when lake levels are high the birds tend towards Goshen Bay. However, when levels are low, as they currently are and have been in recent years, Provo Bay provides the most valuable habitat for shorebirds and migratory birds. The health of both bays is necessary in order to respond to fluctuating lake levels and provide the necessary habitat. The two greatest threats to these areas are lost upland and shoreland habitat from encroaching development, and water quality in the lake. If shorebirds and migratory birds are to succeed in their current population numbers, the bays of Utah Lake are critical to their survival.


This IBA nomination includes only those lands that are in public ownership.

(Also note: The Benjamin Slough area that is part of the Utah Lake Wetland Preserve comprises about 4,000 acres. Most of this area is currently privately owned. While there is good bird usage in this area, survey data do not indicate that it currently qualifies as an IBA.)

The State of Utah has worked over the years to settle the boundary line between the navigable body of water of Utah Lake (also known as sovereign lands) and the owners of shoreline properties. Most private landowners settled willingly with the state. However, there are some private landowners who have not settled and ownership of the shorelines is being settled through the court system. This nomination includes only the undisputed sovereign lands of Goshen Bay. When the court settles the disputed lands, additional properties will very likely be included. A map of these disputed properties is attached.

Bureau of Land Management
Salt Lake Field Office, 2370 South 2300 West
Salt Lake City, UT 84119

Utah Reclamation Mitigation and Conservation Commission
102 West 500 South #315
Salt Lake City, UT 84101-2328

Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands
1594 West North Temple, Suite 3520
Salt Lake City, UT 84114-5703

Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
1594 West North Temple, Suite 2110
Salt Lake City, UT 84114-6301

Stay abreast of Audubon

Our email newsletter shares the latest programs and initiatives.