UTAH COUNTY (ABC4) – A new poll shows the majority of residents in Utah County support the Utah Lake Restoration Project. But some researchers questioned the study’s reliability as communities continue to oppose the development of Utah Lake.
The poll by G1 research, commissioned by the Utah Lake Restoration Project claims 77% of Utah County residents think the lake needs to be improved and 2/3rds of residents support the development of Utah Lake.
“As a whole Utah county residents are unhappy with the current state of Utah Lake,” President of Lake Restoration Solutions Jon Benson said.
But many researchers disagree with the project’s proposal and said it’s ecologically unsound and does not provide the scientific backing to show how the project would help.
“We don’t think this would be beneficial to the lake. In fact, it could render the lake dependent on continual human intervention for decades,” Professor of Ecosystem Ecology Ben Abbott said.
The Utah Lake Restoration Project would dredge Utah Lake, deepen the lakebed and construct islands in the lake.
They hope to improve lake conditions and make it a better place to recreate.
“We want see Utah Lake be a place that people can gather with their families and reconnect with each other and with nature,” Benson said.
But some ecologists are firmly against this and said Utah Lake is already place to recreate but it is a natural body of water and not your typical clear, blue water reservoir.
“Utah Lake is never going to look like some of the reservoirs we know and love,” Abbott said.
ABC4 also asked if the poll’s questions were nonbiased and independent.
Lake restoration solutions said yes.
“The questions are written by G1 research, they did seek our input on those questions but it was very important that we didn’t ask leading questions,” Benson said.
But others disagree.
“LRS is trying to paint this picture that everybody loves this project that this kind of work is done everywhere and you would be dumb not to support it. Almost the opposite is true this kind of project hasn’t been done anywhere else it would be a huge construction experiment,” Abbott said.
Lake Restoration Solutions said they want to work with researchers to find the best solution for Utah Lake.
But many researchers said the lake is already improving with current restoration efforts and the project would derail those.