(Good Things Utah) Our state is known for having some of the most stunning lakes in the nation, regularly attracting visitors and their recreation throughout the warmer seasons. But when natives grab their boats to hit the water, one of our largest is being overlooked this summer — and for good reason.

Utah Lake spans approximately 148 square miles, considered to be our largest freshwater lake. This summer, the Utah Department of Environmental Quality has issued a Warning Advisory for residents to keep out of the lake due to significantly increased concentrations of harmful algal blooms.

These harmful algal blooms occur when algae colonies grow uncontrollably, releasing toxic chemicals dangerous to both people and wildlife. The water in Utah Lake has a high amount of nitrogen and phosphorus, creating even more extreme algae growth in recent years.

According to conservationist Jon Benson: “We’ve actually seen pets die that have gotten in the water during a harmful algal bloom. Children (especially small children) are more susceptible to this when they’re swimming in these areas. If they ingest the water, it can make them sick…”

If you choose to visit Utah Lake:

  • Do not swim or water ski
  • Avoid areas of algae when boating
  • Clean fish well and discard guts
  • Keep animals away
  • Don’t drink the water

Learn what this means for visiting safely

The Utah Lake Restoration Project plans to restore the lake by undertaking the largest water conservation project in state history. To succeed in their endeavor, the project — led by Lake Restoration Solutions — has hired a team of international experts specializing in water conservation, lake restoration, dredging, engineering, and more.

Working over several years, the Utah Lake Restoration Project aims to assemble over $6 billion in capital funds. Experts guess this effort will take roughly 15 years from start to finish.

“At Lake Restoration Solutions, we’ve been working on various solutions to all the issues in Utah Lake,” says Benson. “We have a comprehensive plan to clean up Utah Lake, to make the water clean and healthy, to improve wildlife habitat, and to make this an incredible recreational resource again.”

Once completed, this project plans to improve water quality, restore natural function to Utah Lake’s ecosystem, and conserve approximately 30 billion gallons of water every year.

Their plan will be accomplished in 5 parts:

  1. Research & Permit
  2. Deepen lakebed
  3. Create islands
  4. Restore ecosystem
  5. Enhance community

To learn more about the project, go to LakeRestorationSolutions.com.

**This segment contains sponsored content