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SLCo Council urges action to save the Great Salt Lake

Posted at 4:08 PM, Aug 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-09 19:01:46-04

SALT LAKE CITY  — The Salt Lake County Council on Tuesday unanimously passed a resolution calling for action to save the Great Salt Lake.

The resolution, sponsored by Council member Richard Snelgrove, backs state and federal efforts to try to turn things around for the massive water-body.

"WHEREAS, the Salt Lake County Council finds that there are serious concerns with the depletion of the Great Salt Lake, and WHEREAS, the County Council believes that Salt Lake County should act in concert with the state and federal governments in this matter; NOW THEREFORE, be it resolved that the Salt Lake County Council pledges to work with State of Utah and the United States federal government to find policy solutions that will preserve the Great Salt Lake as the precious natural resource that it is," the resolution states.

In an interview with FOX 13 News, the Republican council member did not rule out more action from Salt Lake County in the future.

"It’s a work in progress. With the passage of time, we’ll be looking at additional tools and resources we can dedicate in our capacity as a council to aid in this effort and this fight to help save the Great Salt Lake," he said.

The Salt Lake County Council was briefed on the Great Salt Lake earlier this year, leaving many stunned at the dire situation. The council itself has funded water conservation measures, including tearing up athletic fields and replacing them with artificial turf. Council member Snelgrove urged people to conserve water and replace water-wasting landscaping with desert-friendly alternatives.

The Great Salt Lake dropped to a new record low this year and has continued to decline as a result of water diversion, drought and climate change. It presents an environmental catastrophe for Utah with declining snowpack, toxic dust storms and significant impacts to wildlife and Utah's economy.

State leaders have rallied around the lake. House Speaker Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, personally sponsored a bill in the 2022 legislative session to fund $40 million for a pair of environmental groups to secure water for the lake itself. Lawmakers also passed a number of water conservation measures that are now going into effect. Speaker Wilson recently told FOX 13 News he is planning more legislation, and saving the lake could cost billions.

"We have got to figure out how we’re going to save it," said Salt Lake County Council member Aimee Winder Newton, who co-sponsored the resolution. "This is not something that’s a nice to have. This is a need to fix, something we absolutely have to be addressing. We stand in solidarity with our state leaders."

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.