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Ogden Bay repair project will aid the Great Salt Lake

Posted at 5:52 PM, Apr 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-12 19:52:51-04

OGDEN, Utah — Helping make sure the water from this year’s historic snow season can get to the Great Salt Lake and help the ecosystems that depend on it is the goal of a repair project in Ogden Bay.

“If we weren’t doing this project right now, there’s a really chance we would lose this dike, and lose the ability to control all the water at the Ogden Bay waterfowl management area," said Rich Hansen, manager of the area.

The dike helps move water through 19,000 acres of the bay.

“That is important to the hundreds of thousands of birds – shorebirds or waterfowls – on both the spring and fall migrations," Hansen explained, "and we also are a very important area for nesting. We have a lot of Canada geese, mallards and a lot of shorebirds that nest here.”

While many love the Great Salt Lake, most don't realize the lake also includes hundreds of thousands of acres wetland habitats on the eastern and southern shorelines where the Bear, Weber and Jordan rivers flow into the lake.

The was constructed in the 1930s and has eroded over the decades. Ducks Unlimited stepped in with federal funds to help construction. Hansen says crews will go about 200 yards more and pause the project until July because the spring runoff will make it tricky to work.

“There are several dump trucks that are hauling the rock, we’re trying to rebuild the dike back to its original footprint and then we are wrapping with large rocks to prevent future erosion,” he said.

The water in Ogden Bay comes through an area to feed into the Great Salt Lake. So repairing the dikes and infrastructure helps make it more efficient to convey water and increase the lake levels, especially with seasonal runoffs.

Experts say projects like this by Ducks Unlimited and others have to continue because the lake is still in a dire state.

“We know that it’s not enough to save the [Great Salt Lake]," said Coryna Herbert, a biologist with Ducks Unlimited. "It simply has averted an ecological catastrophe that we were on the brink of last fall. It buys a little bit extra time to implement some of these measures that we need to save water and reversing the slow trend of the lake declining."

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