(The Daily Dish) Even though it’s a long process, we’re getting closer to having a cleaner Utah Lake for all to enjoy, and today we have conservationist Jon Benson with updates on restoring Utah Lake to a clean condition.

The Utah Lake Restoration Project is a plan to provide a comprehensive restoration and improvement of Utah Lake. Utah is the fastest growing state in the country, but also the second driest. In a now two-decade long megadrought, we could desperately use the 30 billion gallons of additional water supply per year the project would provide.

They have worked for years to assemble the plan, the team, and the funding to achieve what many have called impossible. Lake Restoration Solutions and the State of Utah are undertaking the largest water conservation and clean water clean-up project in state history with the largest ecological, water, and geotechnical study ever conducted on Utah Lake.

This important public/private partnership, “The Utah Lake Restoration Project,” will provide significant water to the state’s water supply, add water storage and provide the ability to distribute significant additional water to the Great Salt Lake. 

The intent of this massive conservation and clean water project is to:

  • Significantly improve Utah Lake’s water quality, which has been impaired by high nutrient levels making the lake’s water unsafe for recreation and culinary water use.
  • Restore key aspects of Utah Lake’s ecosystem to its natural function and regulation.
  • Conserve approximately 30 billion gallons of water annually.

Starting last year, and continuing over the next few years, teams of scientists and researchers have been analyzing Utah Lake’s waters, wetlands, sediments, and ecosystem. 

They have hired a team of international experts with advanced degrees in water conservation, lake restoration, geotechnical, seismic, dredging, engineering, environmental remediation, fisheries, and dozens of other key disciplines. 

Their findings will provide the additional data and science needed to inform the specific design and evaluate the preferred alternatives for undertaking this important conservation and restoration initiative. 

Using science, innovation, and proven engineering processes, it is possible to restore Utah Lake for the benefit of future generations of Utahns.

To assemble a private/public capital of more than $6 billion, they have worked over the past several years with philanthropists, environmental impact-oriented funds, business leaders, government, and global infrastructure financial institutions.

Over the coming years, they will provide additional information on how the funding raised by Lake Restoration Solutions, paired with government programmatic funding, will effectuate this important conservation vision without additional tax and regulatory burden on state residents.

The US Army Corps of Engineers is initiating an extensive public vetting of the project that demands the best available science be utilized, and that both data and opinion be considered from all perspectives.

They welcome legitimate scrutiny and constructive criticism and have spent years meeting with interested stakeholders and experts proactively seeking this kind of input.

They are encouraged by Utahns’ interest in restoring Utah Lake to its natural state. They’re working toward a shared objective of a clean, clear water state lake that protects and enhances our water resources, restores the lake and its waters, provides enhanced recreational opportunities and provides a Utah Lake waterfront for the benefit of millions of Utah residents and visitors.

Last summer’s historic drought has demonstrated the urgency and need for drought planning for Utah Lake and its watersheds.

Learn more by visiting the Utah Lake Restoration Project website.

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