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Saving the GSL

This week, you'll find more on:

  • A second chance,

  • Cloud seeding, 

  • Ocean water in the GSL,

  • A population boom, and more.

Editor's Note

As 2022 comes to an end, I can't help but reflect on a year of partnership. The reporters, researchers. librarians, educators, and writers we work with have spent countless hours researching the crisis facing the Great Salt Lake and the potential solutions to saving it.

Looking forward: You can expect to see a lot more.

Going into 2023, I want to hear from you. What do you like about this newsletter? What do you dislike? Do we send it frequently enough? You get the picture.

To help encourage your participation in our survey, each participant will be entered to win a $50 gift card. Interested? Click the button below.

Enter to win!

I'm so grateful to subscribers like you who value the Great Salt Lake Collaborative's work. Your support enables us to do the rigorous journalism, innovative storytelling and unique community outreach that impacts real change.

Happy holidays, and happy new year!

– Heather May, project manager

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The Salt Lake Tribune

The Great Salt Lake’s most important source of water has a troubled history. But there is hope its future may be better.

As many as 200 to 500 Shoshone died at the Bear River Massacre site. The event was so traumatic that the Shoshone abandoned the site, only occasionally gathering years later to mourn and remember. But in 2018, their descendants bought and reclaimed their old wintering grounds, including a portion where a stream now called “Battle Creek” flows through it. They’re at work transforming it into a place of environmental and cultural healing.

Full story
FOX 13

Utah looks to expand cloud seeding to help with drought, Great Salt Lake

Gov. Spencer Cox and Utah's Department of Natural Resources are asking the legislature to dramatically increase funding for cloud seeding generators across the state — from roughly $200,000 now to $1 million. Does it show promise?

Full story

Utah’s population boom could further strain its limited water

A new report projects Utah’s population will jump to an estimated 5.5 million by 2060. Utah though has experienced a decline in precipitation, higher temperatures and saw more rain instead of snow since 1950. In turn, Great Salt Lake has hit record-low water levels, and natural flow to the state’s reservoirs and lakes has dropped significantly while water consumption has increased with the population.

Full story

You Asked, We Answered.

Explore answers to questions from the public about the Great Salt Lake. Do you have a question you wanted answered? Submit it here in our survey.

This week's question comes from Michael Holmes.

Q: Can we bring water from the ocean to the Salt Lake?

A: Jaimi Butler, former coordinator of Westminster College’s Great Salt Lake Institute, thinks conservation and alternative restoration efforts may be the best choice for now.

One concern with bringing ocean water to Great Salt Lake is the possibility of creating an imbalance in saline levels. This option is also more expensive in the long run, she said, but Utah lawmakers are considering it.

Read more here.

– Reported and written by McCaulee Blackburn.

In Your Own Words: “Lake Effect”

As we continue to report, we want to ensure that those closest to the issue are heard. Utah Public Radio produces “Lake Effect,” an audio storytelling series about Utahns' relationships with the Great Salt Lake. 

This week's story comes from Nan Seymour, who says, “It's hard to be with a great body, dying of thirst. It's hard. But if we look away, we won't change it.”

Share your story here, and you may see it in a future edition of this newsletter! You can listen to other stories here.

Crowdsourcing solutions

We figure those who live near the Great Salt Lake know a thing or two about what should be done to save it. 

We asked you what you think should be done to get more water to the lake, and we received an astounding number of submissions — more than 500 ideas. Here's a sampling:

“I think a major critique of our current political, economic structure is required. So far, policies are only bandaids to the amount of injustice, socially and environmentally, that the climate crisis exacerbates. We need more anti-capitalist coverage of all environmental issues.”

— Mikkel Davis

“The Lake needs permanent water rights to ensure enough water continuously flows to it. And we need to significantly reduce water waste (specifically secondary water waste). We could easily reduce waste by ending water rate subsidies and allowing water rates to respond to free-market principles.”

— Emily Grubby

“Reduce water consumption, particularly for landscaping. Encourage/facilitate greater use of 'grey water', e.g. for toilet flushing, in lieu of culinary grade water.”

— Pam Crain

Get Involved!

The Great Salt Lake impacts our drinking water, snow, air quality, economy, ecology and more. It truly touches all aspects of Utahns' lives, and we want to ensure your voices are heard.

Get involved with the Great Salt Lake Collaborative by sharing your personal relationship with the lake or taking our survey

Have a question? Reply to this email or reach out to
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