(The Daily Dish) We all love lakes our lakes, but Utah Lake is experiencing the worst drought we’ve seen, and today we have Conservationist Jon Benson with updates on what’s happening with plans to restore Utah Lake.
First, let’s talk about what the Utah Lake Restoration Project is about. The plan is to bring the lake back and correct over 150 years of damage. Making the Lake a clean, healthy body of water that is sustainable for plants, animals and also better for recreation.
Unfortunately, Utah is suffering from the worst drought in centuries and Utah Lake is a key water resource for the Wasatch Front, roughly 600,000 people rely on it. The lake is currently 43% full and only 4 ft deep on average due to the harmful algae and because the lake is too shallow, it’s not used often for boating or recreational use. The Great Salt Lake has also reached a record low and restoring Utah Lake, can also help the Great Salt Lake.
Whenever anyone hears an idea about “restoration” they generally don’t like the concept because they’re either worried it will raise taxes, take away from their history, etc. Luckily, that is not the case with Utah Lake Restoration. The Cost of the project is $6.5 Billion and the tax increase is $0 due to significant funding resources set up by Utah lake Restoration they will pay for the restoration work without an increase in taxes.
Let’s talk about the SOLUTION!
- Water Conservation – The Utah Lake Restoration project will clean, restore, and conserve the lake’s water while preserving and enhancing surrounding wetlands.
- Dredging – Dredging is the process of removing sediments and silt from the bottom of a body of water. Dredging Utah Lake will deepen the lake, remove nutrient-loaded sediments, and create cleaner water.
- Island Creation – National dredging policy indicates the nutrient-loaded sediment on the lakebed can be stored and separated via island containment areas.
- Wind and Waves – By increasing lake depth, the Utah Lake Restoration Project will be able to reduce the amount of force wave action exerts on the lake bottom.
- Water Quality Improvement – The Utah Lake Restoration Project will transform Utah Lake from its current cloudy and nutrient-polluted state to a cleaner, healthier body of water.
- Algae Blooms – Utah Lake is loaded with nutrients that create boom and bust cycles of algae growth. Dredging the lake will remove nutrient filled sediments that feed toxic algal blooms.
In short, The plan is to make Utah Lake smaller but deeper so the water does not evaporate as quickly. To learn more about Utah Lake Restoration Solutions, visit their website.
Also, view the U.S. Drought Monitor. It is updated each Thursday to show the location and intensity of drought across the country. This map shows drought conditions across Utah using a five-category system, from Abnormally Dry conditions to Exceptional Drought. The USDM is a joint effort of the National Drought Mitigation Center, USDA, and NOAA.
The following state-specific drought impacts were compiled by the National Drought Mitigation Center. While these impacts are not exhaustive, they can help provide a clearer picture of drought in Utah.