Great Salt Lake experts take to the skies to observe the lake’s recent growth

This season’s record snowpack bodes well for the Great Salt Lake. It’s already risen a few feet, and the drain has only just begun.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) The Great Salt Lake is showing signs on Wednesday, April 12, 2023 near the outflow of the Weber River, where areas that were bone dry just weeks ago were covered with a few patches Improving inches of water improves bird habitat and reduces dust.

This season’s record snowpack bodes well for the Great Salt Lake. It’s already risen a few feet, and the drain has only just begun.

“Definitely a sigh of relief to see more water and parts that were previously dry are now covered in water so definitely a happy time,” said Marisa Weinberg, the interim Great Salt Lake coordinator at the Utah Division of Forestry , Fire and State countries.

Weinberg was one of the passengers on Tuesday morning’s “Ecoflight,” which sees experts and enthusiasts fly over the Great Salt Lake for a bird’s-eye view.

“Now you go out there and you see water almost everywhere,” said Timothy Hawkes, a former lawmaker and general counsel for the Great Salt Lake Brine Shrimp Cooperative. “It’s very thin, but it’s out there. And that’s just great to see.”

The lake has risen over 4 feet after hitting an historic low last November.

“It’s incredible to see water now flowing over the berm and into the north arm and knowing that we have so much snow that has yet to melt and we’re going to see it continue to rise,” Weinberg said.

FOX 13 News launched Ecoflight back in August and the views from then to today are completely different. Where there was still an exposed lake bed last autumn, there is actually water everywhere now.

“It was kind of devastating to see so many areas of the lake dry up,” said Friends of Great Salt Lake’s Katie Newburn. “To see these areas today that were all exposed a few months ago are now covered in water again… it’s just so encouraging to see.”

You can see water filling wetlands, reservoirs rising and ponds with more water than last fall.

“It’s just so good for this ecosystem, it’s good for the industries that depend on the lake, good for people who are out there relaxing, it’s good for keeping the dust down, which people are worried about.” ‘ Hawkes said. “Seeing more water is just awesome on so many levels.”

But the past winter does not mean that the lake is saved.

“It really just gives us a little bit more time to implement these longer-term measures through policy and management,” Weinberg said. “We will not let the lake die. There are too many people who care too much.”

This story was first published by Fox 13 News. The Salt Lake Tribune and Fox 13 News are content sharing partners.

Justin Scaccy

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