Great Salt Lake ties historic low set nearly 60 years ago

Local News

The Great Salt Lake recedes from Anthelope Island on May 4, 2021, near Salt Lake City. The lake has been shrinking for years, and a drought gripping the American West could make this year the worst yet. The receding water is already affecting nesting pelicans that are among millions of birds dependent on the largest natural lake west of the Mississippi River. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The Great Salt Lake has tied its historic low elevation.

A spokesperson with the Utah Division of Natural Resources tells ABC4.com the U.S. Geological Survey is reporting the Great Salt Lake has tied its historic low elevation of 4191.4.

“We suspect it will happen in the coming days,” the spokesperson said when asked if the Great Salt Lake had hit a historic low.

Once the daily average drops to 4191.3 for consecutive days, and the provisional data is vetted, Utah DNR says the new low will be official.

Earlier this month, the Utah Rivers Council released a report saying the Great Salt Lake has dropped to its lowest level in history – below 4190.8 feet – “because of reduced snowpacks from climate change and upstream water diversions.”

Yet, at the time, state wildlife officials called the report “premature.”

“Reports that the Great Salt Lake has dropped below its historic low elevation of 4,191.35 are premature. The Utah Division of Water Resources is following the lake’s elevation closely and expects it will drop below that point in the coming days,” Utah Department of Natural Resources Director Brian Steed says in a statement. “Conditions like wind, inflow, and evaporation can cause the lake’s elevation to fluctuate. Sometimes those swings are extreme. To account for this, the division evaluates daily averages rather than the instantaneous readings recorded every 15-minutes. Taking this approach provides us with a more accurate reading rather than a single snapshot in time.”

In March, Senator Mitt Romney introduced a co-sponsored bill to help protect the ecosystems of saline lakes like the Great Salt Lake.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Utah Coronavirus

More Coronavirus Updates

IN FOCUS

More In Focus

Justice Files

More Justice Files