Question by Pam Smith, Pleasant Grove, Utah

These two bodies of water are connected. So, yes, helping Great Salt Lake will also help Utah Lake. And vice versa. 

Dr. Ben Abbott, Assistant Professor at Brigham Young University, says these ecosystems are connected in three ways: 

  • They’re connected hydrologically. This means that they are a part of the same watershed. The Jordan River brings water from Utah Lake to Great Salt Lake. 
  • They’re connected through biodiversity. Both lakes are a part of the Pacific Flyway that supports the ten million migrating birds each year. “Any of the habitat that we lose in one of these lakes, and around one of these lakes, puts more pressure on the habitat in the other,” Abbott said, “and likewise. Any of the habitat that we can conserve or restore is helpful to those populations of wildlife.”
  • They’re connected through the human/societal aspect. “There also are cultural, recreation and economic importance of these water bodies… I’m really encouraged as we look to the future, as we start to take a more watershed-wide approach,” said Abbott, “for us to solve issues in the Great Salt Lake, in Utah Lake. We need to be thinking about the entire watershed.” 
    —Reported and written by McCaulee Blackburn