A drying Great Salt Lake could mean increased dust, less snow, reduced lake access, elevated salinity, habitat loss, island bridges, more invasive plant growth and negative economic consequences to the state. Visit the links below to learn more about how the water, air and wildlife in and around the lake are being impacted.
Hydrology & Levels
The U.S. Geological Survey monitors lake levels, salinity and groundwater data. Check out their interactive site that provides real-time data and information related to the lake and its watershed.
For the unique Great Salt Lake ecosystem to thrive, salinity of the south arm should fall between 120 and 160 grams per liter or about 12-16%. Ecosystems are impaired when salinity is over 18%.
Clearly defined water-quality goals ensure that regulatory decisions protect the lake’s vibrant ecology, beneficial uses, and economic activities.
Division of Air Quality
The Division of Air Quality safeguards and improves Utah’s air, land and water through balanced regulation.
Great Salt Lake is an important factor in forming and distributing ozone pollution.
A drying lakebed can increase the amount of airborne dust. Dust^2 tracks dust formation and impacts across the Intermountain West.
Great Salt Lake is an avian oasis where more than 10 million migratory birds visit annually to rest, refuel and breed.
The Division of Wildlife Resources manages between 550 and 700 free-roaming bison on Antelope Island State Park.
Microbialites provide food for brine fly larvae and brine shrimp, which provide food for birds. Low levels are threatening them.
Brine shrimp are crustaceans that inhabit saline waters around the world and are a valuable food source to migratory birds that congregate in and around Great Salt Lake. Without this food source, the birds’ long migrations wouldn’t be possible.
The extensive marshes, mudflats and meadows surrounding Great Salt Lake make up roughly 32% of the vegetated wetlands in Utah and provide crucial stopover, wintering and nesting habitat for millions of shorebirds and waterfowl.