Save the Great Salt Lake!
Save the Great Salt Lake!
The Great Salt Lake is drying up! Currently, the lake is under half of its normal capacity. From losing habitat for migratory birds to having frequent toxic dust storms, the Great Salt Lake drying up impacts both you and me, not only friends from Utah, but people all over the world!
For one, 1/3 of the US West's migratory birds stop to rest at the wetlands of the Great Salt Lake. These are birds that may never have another place to stop and rest. These are birds that will be lost without the lake. The only reason they come to Utah is to find a safe place, and if the lake isnt there, they could be in danger.
The Great Salt Lake is also home to 80% of Utah's wetlands, and losing those would harm the biodiversity of Utah.
As if that isn't enough to make us take action, there is a darker issue,l that affects public health. Tere is a toxic compound called methylmercury that is much more toxic than normal mercury in the lakebed. Methylmercury has developed from years of pesticides, sewage, and toxic arsenic entering the lake. The only thing keeping this terrible arsenic down are the waters of the lake. Methylmercury is already in our air due to a receding lake, and we must do all we can to stop it. Too much methylmercury can and will kill a person, and if the lakebed is exposed, this methylmercury could get into our air, settle on snow, and get picked up in dust storms, which would distribute the dust much farther. This would be harming us and the environment.
There are also economic problems that may arise from the Great Salt Lake drying up. The state of Utah gains so much prosperity from the lake, including over 7,000 jobs and over 1.3 billion dollars annually. Utah produces 40% of the world's brine shrimp, which in turn are used to raise seafood all around the world.
If the Great Salt Lake were to dry up, we could be losing lake effect snow, which helps fuel our world class ski resorts. We could be increasing our risk of dust induced respiratory problems, increasing economic decline due to the loss of a mining and brine shrimp industry, and generally losing a beautiful place to visit.
The Great Salt Lake and its wetlands have captured me since I was young, and hopefully, it will capture you too. It is a picturesque scene that not enough people know about, and many will never know, nor understand the beauty of this wonder of the West. I, as well as many scientists and conservationists want future generations to still have this incredible place of science and natural beauty. It is terrifying, not only to be losing a place of my past, but also to be gaining so many problems, and more people should worry. It is time to take action.
For years, the government has done next to nothing for the Great Salt Lake, but now there is a chance. On January 19th, government officials are meeting to discuss the Great Salt Lake's fate by deciding whether or not to implement a plan created to save it, and we need to do something. This plan, by GSLAC, if adopted, will implement 12 simple strategies to save the Great Salt Lake. This plan is accompanied by Governer Cox's saline lakes ecosystem plan, which would help even further protect the lake. If we can get enough signatures on this petition, we may be able to turn the tide towards the amazing conservationists at GSLAC, which will hopefully be another stride towards a future for the lake.