Laura Vernon

Great Salt Lake Coordinator

Utah Department of Natural Resources


Laura Vernon is the Great Salt Lake Coordinator with the Utah Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands. For over 15 years she has worked with federal, state, and local governments and industry leaders on contemporary planning and environmental policy issues in the West. With a Master’s in Public Administration and BA in Psychology, her education and professional experience focuses on land use planning, public involvement, socioeconomic analyses, project management and strategic planning. She has worked on numerous exciting and innovative Great Salt Lake-related projects over the last 10 years including the development of the 2013 Great Salt Lake Comprehensive Management Plan to recent the exploration of the economic and ecological impacts of a declining Great Salt Lake.


Title: The Great Salt Lake Elevation Matrix Redux

Abstract: The Great Salt Lake Matrix, created during the development of Forestry, Fire and State Lands’ 2013 Great Salt Lake Comprehensive Management Plan, was an innovative and informative way to illustrate lake resources at a range of lake level elevations. For nearly a decade the matrix has been a useful for tool for a range of users in understanding how decreasing lake levels impact everything from wetland health to recreation access. The matrix laid the foundation for future illustrations of Great Salt Lake conditions with the development of the Great Salt Lake Salinity Matrix and Great Salt Lake Dashboard. Despite its success, the matrix is ready for an update. The Governor’s Fiscal Year 2023 Budget Recommendations included funding for an update to the matrix and management plan. Forestry, Fire and State Lands is eager to get to work on the revision in the Summer of 2022, but we want to hear from you. What would you like to see included and/or improved in the matrix? Bring your ideas to this matrix-centric discussion.