SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Spencer Cox issued an executive order today directing the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands to raise the Great Salt Lake causeway berm.
In November the Great Salt Lake reached a historically low surface level elevation, causing a significant increase in salinity and threatening the lake’s ecosystem.
“The Great Salt Lake is crucial to our environment, ecology and economy, and we must do everything we can to protect it,” Cox said in a press release. “We’ve been blessed with significant snowpack so far this winter, and this executive order will allow the state to move quickly to increase the lake level in the South Arm by capturing spring runoff. We don’t want to miss this opportunity to safeguard the lake.”
The Union Pacific Railroad Causeway bisects the Great Salt Lake, and the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands controls a water flow berm, which is currently set at 4,187 feet.
Under this executive order, effective immediately, the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire, and State Lands will increase the berm height to a minimum of 4,192 feet in order to increase overall depth and decrease salinity of the South Arm of the Great Salt Lake
The Department of Natural Resources and Department of Environmental Quality must now prepare a berm management plan to guide future adjustments to berm height. The executive order will expire when this berm management plan has been adopted and implemented.
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