Conserving Great Salt Lake: Meeting the water quality challenge
Under both state law (UAC R317) and federal Clean Water Act authority, the Utah Division of Water Quality (UDWQ) is entrusted with the responsibility of protecting the lake’s “beneficial uses”—recreational activities such as swimming and duck hunting and protection for waterfowl, shorebirds and other water-oriented wildlife including their necessary food chain. Yet the extent that the lake is resilient to or threatened by pollutants and their effect on the lake’s beneficial uses is largely unknown. Great Salt Lake’s unique characteristics, particularly salt concentrations that range from freshwater conditions to conditions tenfold greater than the ocean, requires a management approach that is specific to the lake.
UDWQ is proposing a Great Salt Lake Water Quality Strategy to better coordinate and communicate efforts to develop numeric water quality criteria for the lake, improve water quality monitoring and prioritize research. UDWQ believes that implementing this strategy will result in increased water quality protection of the Lake’s beneficial uses, greater certainty for regulated industries and cities, and more effective use of scarce resources by all concerned. UDWQ will explain this newly developed strategy to protect this precious resource.