SALT LAKE CITY (January 5, 2022)—In advance of today’s Great Salt Lake Summit, Marcelle Shoop, Saline Lakes Program Director for the National Audubon Society, released the following statement:

“It is encouraging to see the Utah Legislature recognizing the urgency of Great Salt Lake’s record low water levels—a problem that, if left unchecked, could result in catastrophic ecosystem collapse, affecting not just the millions of migratory birds that rely on the largest salt lake in the Western Hemisphere, but also many businesses and jobs that rely on a healthy lake.

Also concerning is the potential for increased dust from exposed lakebed and the negative impact to public health and nearby snowpack. There is a pressing need and opportunity to preserve Great Salt Lake and its wetlands. We are grateful to Speaker Wilson, Representative Hawkes, and other Utah officials for their leadership in addressing the state’s future vibrancy and health.

We look forward to the successful outcomes from this summit and legislative actions that include:

  • Dedicated funding and investments to benefit Great Salt Lake for the long-term, including enhancing water flows to the lake and restoring wetlands and hydrologic connections around the lake.
     
  • Policy actions and funding that support prioritizing Great Salt Lake’s importance in integrated watershed planning and management and recognize its water needs as part of the water budget.
     
  • Policy and funding support for municipal and industrial water conservation measures including efforts that promote incorporation of water planning in land use planning.
     
  • Support for agricultural water optimization, while sustaining agricultural operations that benefit return flows and habitat needs for the lake and surrounding wetlands."

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Contact:

Joey Kahn, joey.kahn@audubon.org

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