The Great Salt Lake is drying up.

Preserving its waters protects our health, its unique ecosystems, and ensures the future habitability of Utah State.

Great Salt Lake To-Do List:

With two days left in the 2023 legislative session, our decision-makers have failed to take meaningful action to get water to Great Salt Lake. The Lake is facing collapse, which would spell disaster for our health, the critical ecosystem and 10 million birds, and our local economies.

Our legislature has the power to avert this crisis and take emergency action to get water to the lake but they’ve demonstrated that either they do not understand the urgency – scientists say we have 5 years on our current trajectory before collapse – or, they lack the political will to take necessary measures to protect our future.

Throughout this year’s session, our legislature has had several opportunities to take meaningful steps for Great Salt Lake. They failed to pass SCR06 – a resolution that sets a target elevation of 4198 ft, despite this being the #1 policy recommendation from the state’s leading scientists and researchers.

Our leaders have also ignored the governor’s request for $100 million to address the salinity crisis. Futhermore, they have refused to even consider redirecting sales tax away from the destructive Bear River Development Project into a fund for Great Salt Lake.

Instead, they have chosen to respond with administrative tweaks and increased bureaucracy when the moment demands actions far greater. Now is the time to move beyond incremental solutions. The Utah legislature’s actions this session do not enable us to get water to Great Salt Lake in the short term. We must treat this as a crisis, and while the legislature refuses to address it with real solutions, we know what must be done:

  • Water to the Lake Now 
  • Additional 1,000,000 acre feet per year
  • Emergency Water Releases from Reservoirs
  • Set Target: 4198+ Lake Level and <15% Salinity
  • Measure and Monitor to Shepherd Water
  • Conservation First
  • Landback
  • Comanagement and Costewardship with Tribes
  • Native Leaders on All Decision-Making Bodies
  • Loss and Damage Fund
  • Just Agricultural Transition
  • Create Viable Markets for Local Agriculture
  • No More Subsidized Water Waste
  • No Bear River Development Project
  • Legally Recognize the Lake’s Inherent Rights: to Live, Flourish, and to be Restored

Sign the Petition

We’re gathering signatures to let the Utah State Legislature know that saving Great Salt Lake is a priority to their constituents and communities. Sign our petition and let your voice be heard!

By signing up, you agree to share your personal information to sign our petition to save the Great Salt Lake.

The Dangers of a Drying Lake Bed

The Great Salt Lake is a terminal one, meaning it has no outlets. Absent of any outflow, its lake bed has absorbed decades’ worth of industrial waste, pesticides, and heavy metals that occur naturally in Utah’s soil. As water is diverted from the lake – largely for agricultural use and mineral extraction – dried particles blow across the Wasatch Front, exposing millions to toxic, irritating dust.

Without intervention, Great Salt Lake is on track to become one of the largest dust emission sources in North America.

Pictured below are dried out microbialites, rare bacterial structures that are considered one of the oldest life forms on earth. These ‘living rocks’ provide food for brine shrimp and flies who in turn feed tens of millions of shore and migratory birds. A drying lake bed not only endangers humans, but entire ecosystems that rely on stability and homeostasis for continued survival. While 1/3 of the lake’s microbialite structures are now dried out and dead, many more still survive underwater and it’s not too late to save them or our Great Salt Lake.

“If we can’t get a water right for the Great Salt Lake and we can’t protect a certain level of water in the lake, that ecosystem will collapse, and that will have devastating impacts for the millions of humans that live here.”

Bonnie Baxter looks out at the Great Salt Lake

“Diaphanous clouds sweeping across the sky create a veil of shadows on the pastel landscape of mountain ranges and floating islands and pink water in a bloom of algae. How still this place.”

Bushes at the Great Salt Lake

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