Great Salt Lake is so low that the mechanism for measuring water levels is no longer functional
Salt Lake City, Utah — The U.S. Geological Survey’s measuring method at the marina is no longer accurate because the Great Salt Lake has reached such a low level.
“Levels are too low for the Saltair Lake Elevation Gage to measure water levels in the south arm. The gage has been in use for over 100 years,” the Utah Department of Natural Resources said in a statement to FOX 13 News on Friday. “The U.S. Geological Survey is now reporting the south arm elevation from the causeway gage near Lakeside. The gage stations are operated by USGS, with cooperative matching funds from DNR and the Division of Forestry, Fire & State Lands.”
The Great Salt Lake is now at 4,188.9 feet, which is lower than the previous record low of 4,190.2 feet on July 3, according to the agency’s most recent drought report. It is anticipated that the lake will continue to shrink for a few more weeks before beginning to fill somewhat as the fall and winter months approach. The precise amount is unknown.
Due to Utah’s protracted drought, climate change, and water diversion, the Great Salt Lake has reached record lows. State officials have responded by moving quickly to enact water conservation laws and invest millions in initiatives to try and increase the amount of water entering the lake.
Beyond precise lake measures, the marina is no longer able to accommodate boats. The boat ramps reach the murky lake bottom. Since it is not possible to launch rescue boats from the location, Utah State Parks has been forced to search alternative locations close by. Earlier this summer, recreational boats were removed from the marina.
“The Department of Natural Resources is in the process of finalizing plans to dredge the marina to allow for emergency boat operations,” the agency said.
However, Utah State Parks continues to organize educational activities at Antelope Island and the Great Salt Lake Marina where tourists may learn about the lake’s environment and why it is so crucial to the state.
“Great Salt Lake is critical to our state. It contributes $1.3 billion to our economy, provides over 7,700 jobs, supports 80% of Utah’s valuable wetlands, and provides a stopover for millions of birds to rest and refuel each year. It also contributes to our snowpack,” the department said in its statement. “We are committed to finding solutions to protect this critical resource. By doing so, we help our economy, our environment, our wildlife, and our future.”