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The Great Salt Lake is drying up. 

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

Call for Submissions

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This Watershed Moment: Envisioning Place-Based Futures


As the Intermountain West continues to get drier and hotter, Utah’s watersheds are imperiled. The Great Salt Lake is shrinking, and the Colorado River is waning. A great change is needed. This is our watershed moment. We’re forced to ask: how can I live well in uncertain times; how can I stay in a place; how can I give back, be a good neighbor, steward, community member?

Call for Submissions

This is an open call to all people living in Utah’s watersheds. You need not consider yourself a writer or an artist. We want to hear from those who’ve lived by the lake for 80 years, those who are young and anxious about their future, those whose roots in the redrock reach back generations, those who are only recently calling these waters home, and, especially, those whose identities have historically been left out of conversations that imagine a just future. Learn more about the Project.

Submissions will be open through September 22, 2024.

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.”



“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.”


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