Land & Environment

New Website Helps Public Understand Importance of Great Salt Lake Wetlands

A great blue heron stands at the Great Salt Lake's Farmington Bay in Farmington, Utah, on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2023. (Photo Credit: Deseret News/Ryan Sun).

Utah State University journalists at Utah Public Radio have created an interactive website to help Utahns understand the critical role Great Salt Lake and its wetlands play in the ecosystem that is crucial to 10 million birds.

Called “Water for Wildlife: Dire consequences of a shrinking Great Salt Lake,” the project uses stunning images, audio, video and text to answer questions including: Why is the lake shrinking? Why does it matter to wildlife? What birds rely on the lake? What are the solutions?

It was created for a general audience to help Utahns understand the crucial role the lake plays in Utah’s ecosystem. Its visuals and clear writing also appeal to children.

While Utah is benefiting from a historically large snowpack that has helped the lake rise 3 feet this winter, that doesn’t mean the lake’s problems are solved. It reached an historic low last November and needs an additional 7 feet to reach a healthy level.

The website was collaboratively designed by Utah Public Radio reporters and a Salt Lake Community College geosciences professor. It includes images and video from KSL-TV, FOX 13 News, Deseret News and The Salt Lake Tribune.

The project was funded by the Great Salt Lake Collaborative, a journalism initiative that unites Utah newsrooms and community partners to inform all Utahns about the crisis of the shrinking Great Salt Lake and what to do about it. The Collaborative newsrooms have jointly produced around 300 articles about the lake since it formed in 2022.

Aimee Van Tatenhove, Ph.D. candidate at Utah State University studying American white pelicans, sees her attempt to corral the birds onto traps take flight despite her patient attempt on Wednesday, June 23, 2021. (The Salt Lake Tribune/Francisco Kjolseth)

American white pelicans swallow whole large carp as they fish together in the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, a 74,000-acre nature reserve in the northern Great Salt Lake on Wednesday, June 23, 2021. (The Salt Lake Tribune/Francisco Kjolseth)

A great blue heron takes flight at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, a 74,000-acre nature reserve in the northern Great Salt Lake on Wednesday, June 23, 2021. (Photo Credit: The Salt Lake Tribune/Francisco Kjolseth)

CONTACT

Heather May
Project Manager
Great Salt Lake Collaborative
801-712-4512
info@greatsaltlakenews.org


TOPICS

Environment 267stories Water 266stories Journalism 73stories Great Salt Lake 36stories

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