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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.”