SALT LAKE CITY — The last boats have been pulled from the Great Salt Lake Marina.
FOX 13 News documented cranes lifting the remaining boats out on Wednesday. It is a result of the Great Salt Lake continuing to decline.
"Great Salt Lake continues to set all of the wrong records," Candice Hasenyager, the director of Utah's Division of Water Resources, told FOX 13 News in a statement. "The remaining boats have been pulled from the Great Salt Lake Marina as the lake elevation continues to decline. The state is working on permitting and designing an emergency channel in the marina to allow emergency lake access. Efforts are underway to supply additional water to Great Salt Lake through municipal water conservation, agricultural optimization and the Great Salt Lake Trust."
Last month, the Great Salt Lake hit its lowest level in recorded history and has continued to decline as a result of water diversion, drought and climate change. The shrinking lake presents an ecological crisis for the state. The lake generates snowpack for Utah's mountains. Miles of exposed lake bed increase dust that blows into populated areas, which can carry toxins that are naturally occurring but normally buried under water.
Utah's political leaders have tried to throw resources and money at reversing the lake's declines. The legislature passed bills and funded a half-billion for water conservation efforts. The Great Salt Lake Trust was created with $40 million. It is administered by a pair of environmental groups with the sole purpose of acquiring water for the lake by either leasing or purchasing water rights.
On Tuesday, House Speaker Brad Wilson announced plans for more legislation to help save the Great Salt Lake. He also said ultimately reversing its declines could cost billions of dollars.
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.