Water for Wildlife: Dire consequences of a shrinking Great Salt Lake

Often overlooked as nothing more than a stinky, stagnant body of water, the lake actually supports a unique and vibrant ecosystem in and around its shores.

(Photo by Francisco Kjolseth) A great blue heron stands watch alongside other water fowl at Farmington Bay on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023.

The Great Salt Lake Collaborative has created an interactive website to help Utahns understand the critical role the Great Salt Lake and its wetlands play in the ecosystem that is crucial to 10 million birds.

Called “Water for Wildlife: Dire consequences of a shrinking Great Salt Lake,” the project uses stunning images, audio, video and text to answer questions including: Why is the lake shrinking? Why does it matter to wildlife? What birds rely on the lake? What are the solutions?

It was created with videos and photos from some of the collaboration partners, including The Salt Lake Tribune, Fox 13 and the Deseret News for a general audience to help Utahns understand the crucial role the lake plays in Utah’s ecosystem. Its visuals and clear writing also appeals to children.

While Utah is benefiting from a historically large snowpack that has helped the lake rise 3 feet this winter, that doesn’t mean the lake’s problems are solved. It reached a historic low last November and needs an additional 7 feet to reach a healthy level.

This article is published through the Great Salt Lake Collaborative, a solutions journalism initiative that partners news, education and media organizations to help inform people about the plight of the Great Salt Lake—and what can be done to make a difference before it is too late. Read all of our stories at greatsaltlakenews.org.