Leia Larsen
Salt Lake Tribune Water and Land Use Reporter
Leia Larsen is a sixth generation Utahn and a water and land use reporter reporter for The Salt Lake Tribune. She has covered environment, energy and political issues throughout the West. When she’s not chasing the news, Leia can be found exploring the Wasatch Mountains, sleeping in the desert or rooting around her garden.
(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Super heated waters bubble to the surface on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022, on the Bear River near Preston, Idaho, the site of the Bear River Massacre in which a village of Shoshone were attacked in 1863 and experienced the largest slaughter of Indigenous people in the nation’s history. Recently the Shoshone acquired the site with plans to turn it into a place of healing.
(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Super heated waters bubble to the surface on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022, on the Bear River near Preston, Idaho, the site of the Bear River Massacre in which a village of Shoshone were attacked in 1863 and experienced the largest slaughter of Indigenous people in the nation’s history. Recently the Shoshone acquired the site with plans to turn it into a place of healing.
The Northwestern Shoshone are prioritizing restoration of Battle Creek, which runs through one of the bloodiest sites in U.S. history. Preston, Idaho • Steam rose from a sacred hot spring where it mee...
The Great Salt Lake Marina near Saltair is rendered inoperable for all boats as ongoing drought conditions continue to drop lake levels on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022. (Francisco Kjolseth, The Salt Lake Tribune.)
The state engineer receives a deluge of applications for new diversions each year, but it appears many of them would be exempt from the pause. Gov. Spencer Cox announced this month that all new water...
The Great Salt Lake ever-growing exposed lakebed bakes in the sun during ongoing drought conditions on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022. Scientists monitoring the lake's food web said its ecological collapse has begun as the lake continues to hit record-low elevations and dangerous salinity levels by the day.(Francisco Kjolseth, The Salt Lake Tribune)
Scientists note changes to the food web they’ve never seen before, which could lead to endangered species listings and other disasters at Utah’s famous natural wonder. As the Great Salt Lake continues...
Dust blows through Antelope Island and the Great Salt Lake on Saturday, June 18, 2022. (Trent Nelson , The Salt Lake Tribune)
A state representative has a lofty plan to save Utah’s imperiled lake and drought-stricken communities, but first, he wants around $50 million to explore how much salty water is underground. Since law...
Mono Lake in Mono County, California, is pictured on Monday, Aug. 8, 2022. Spenser Heaps, Deseret News
Mono Lake in Mono County, California, is pictured on Monday, Aug. 8, 2022. Spenser Heaps, Deseret News
In September 1981, a group of 11 cyclists collected vials of water from a Los Angeles utility’s decorative reflecting pool and biked 350 miles north to Mono Lake’s shore. “They returned the water to i...
The rising sun reflects off of pools of water and brine that are part of the Owens Lake Dust Mitigation Program on the mostly dry lakebed in Inyo County, California, on Friday, Aug. 12, 2022. Spenser Heaps, Deseret News
The rising sun reflects off of pools of water and brine that are part of the Owens Lake Dust Mitigation Program on the mostly dry lakebed in Inyo County, California, on Friday, Aug. 12, 2022. Spenser Heaps, Deseret News
Lone Pine, Calif. — Those from afar who hear the story of Owens Lake getting drained dry might consider it a tragedy. But those who have spent years living and working on its dusty shores see it as so...
Robbie Di Paolo, a restoration field technician for the Mono Lake Committee, takes journalists on a canoe tour of the lake and its iconic tufa formations on Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022 near Lee Vining, California. Spenser Heaps, Deseret News
Robbie Di Paolo, a restoration field technician for the Mono Lake Committee, takes journalists on a canoe tour of the lake and its iconic tufa formations on Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022 near Lee Vining, California. Spenser Heaps, Deseret News
Lee Vining, Calif. • Geoff McQuilkin trekked toward a dam on Lee Vining Creek, fish leaping to catch bugs at a nearby pond, the peaks of Yosemite National Park and the Ansel Adams Wilderness looming i...
A boardwalk stretches toward the current shoreline of Mono Lake, as seen from around the location of the historic water level of Mono Lake in 1941 before water diversions by Los Angeles first began, at Mono Lake Park near Lee Vining, California, on Monday, Aug. 8, 2022. Spenser Heaps, Deseret News
A boardwalk stretches toward the current shoreline of Mono Lake, as seen from around the location of the historic water level of Mono Lake in 1941 before water diversions by Los Angeles first began, at Mono Lake Park near Lee Vining, California, on Monday, Aug. 8, 2022. Spenser Heaps, Deseret News
Like the Great Salt Lake, Mono Lake is too salty for fish, which means brine shrimp thrive. But the lakes have different species of shrimp: Artemia franciscana live in the Great Salt Lake and Artemia...
One of Mono Lake’s iconic tufa formations is pictured on the south shore of the lake in Mono County, California, on Monday, Aug. 8, 2022. Spenser Heaps, Deseret News
One of Mono Lake’s iconic tufa formations is pictured on the south shore of the lake in Mono County, California, on Monday, Aug. 8, 2022. Spenser Heaps, Deseret News
Lee Vining, Calif. • Amid climate change and growing water demands that are withering terminal lakes away, Mono Lake carries a rare hopeful message. Owens Lake was one of the first cautionary tales ab...
Phill Kiddoo, air pollution control officer for the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District, looks at an area of the Owens Lake Dust Mitigation Program that has been converted to gravel on the dry lakebed in Inyo County, California, while giving journalists a tour on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022. Gravel is one of the “best available control measures” used to mitigate dust that would otherwise be kicked up from the dry lakebed. Spenser Heaps, Deseret News.
Phill Kiddoo, air pollution control officer for the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District, looks at an area of the Owens Lake Dust Mitigation Program that has been converted to gravel on the dry lakebed in Inyo County, California, while giving journalists a tour on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022. Gravel is one of the “best available control measures” used to mitigate dust that would otherwise be kicked up from the dry lakebed. Spenser Heaps, Deseret News.
Keeping emissions at bay on the Great Salt Lake’s exposed bed will take a mosaic of solutions. And it will be very, very expensive. Owens Dry Lakebed, Calif. • The dust is kicking up on the Great Salt...
A sign warning of blowing dust has been vandalized near the small community of Keeler, which sits on the northwest side of the dry lakebed of Owens Lake in Inyo County, California, on Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022. Spenser Heaps, Deseret News
A sign warning of blowing dust has been vandalized near the small community of Keeler, which sits on the northwest side of the dry lakebed of Owens Lake in Inyo County, California, on Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022. Spenser Heaps, Deseret News
Lone Pine, Calif. • The area around Owens Lake holds a certain kind of magnetism. There’s the spectacular Sierra Nevada to the west, crowned by Mount Whitney, the tallest peak in the continental Unite...
A California gull sweeps the surface of Mono Lake near Lee Vining, California, on Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022. Spenser Heaps, Deseret News
A California gull sweeps the surface of Mono Lake near Lee Vining, California, on Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022. Spenser Heaps, Deseret News
This Great Salt Lake Collaborative story is part of day one of our series, “At water’s edge: Searching for solutions at the Great Salt Lake’s sister lakes across the Great Basin.” The in-depth project...
The Lucine Cutoff shown on on August 27, 2002. The cutoff officially opened to rail traffic on Nov. 26, 1903. It was built to replace the original Union Pacific-Central Pacific tracks completed through Promontory in 1869. It shortened the journey from Lucine to Ogden by more than 40 miles and shaved hours off the railroad's schedule. The causeway across the northern end of the Great Salt Lake in Box Elder County still carries 20 freight trains a day. (Francisco Kjolseth, The Salt Lake Tribune)
High concentrations of salty water are already taking a toll on the lake’s brine shrimp, which could have ripple effects on migrating birds and local industry. The Great Salt Lake is so dry, and its w...
The US Magnesium dike north of Stansbury Island on Saturday, March 26, 2022. The company wants to extend its intake canals. (Trent Nelson, The Salt Lake Tribune)
Environmentalists worry that siphoning off more water is exactly what the shrinking lake doesn’t need. The Great Salt Lake is so low that one of its largest lake-based businesses, US Magnesium, is urg...
A member of Utah Youth Environmental Solutions Network (UYES) place grave markers in the dry lake bed of the Great Salt Lake, Sept. 3, 2022, to call for immediate action to protect the lake.(Leah Hogsten, The Salt Lake Tribune)
Despite persistent bugs, unseasonable heat and the formidable challenge presented by a lake that has been receding most of their lives, students gathered Saturday to raise awareness about the Great Sa...
(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Tootie Neumann, left, and her daughter-in-law Kathy Neumann examine water-wise plants at the Jordan Valley Water Conservancy Garden Park while gathering ideas about how to flip the strip at Tootie's house, Thursday, July 14, 2022.
(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Tootie Neumann, left, and her daughter-in-law Kathy Neumann examine water-wise plants at the Jordan Valley Water Conservancy Garden Park while gathering ideas about how to flip the strip at Tootie's house, Thursday, July 14, 2022.
The idea is catching on in cities as Utahns shift their thinking about landscaping. The trick is ensuring enough water trickles downstream. {youtube}MH9Ijtr1YAk{/youtube} As Utah faces a future with b...
(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Old Mill Golf Course in Salt Lake City on Friday, June 25, 2021.
(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Old Mill Golf Course in Salt Lake City on Friday, June 25, 2021.
Yes, they devour millions of gallons of water, recreation managers concede, but they also bring environmental, wildlife and quality-of-life benefits. Editor’s note • This story first published on July...
(Rachel Rydalch | The Salt Lake Tribune) Brian Footen kayaks along the shoreline of the Great Salt Lake while digital mapping on Friday, March 25, 2022. He is planning to paddle the entire lake in June.
(Rachel Rydalch | The Salt Lake Tribune) Brian Footen kayaks along the shoreline of the Great Salt Lake while digital mapping on Friday, March 25, 2022. He is planning to paddle the entire lake in June.
Kayakers capture water levels so low in early June that two bays were impossible to navigate as the lake continues to shrivel. People from around the world can now get an up-close view of the Great Sa...
(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Gov. Spencer Cox sits down for an interview at the governor’s mansion to talk about the ongoing drought and the Great Salt Lake on Tuesday, July 19, 2022.
(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Gov. Spencer Cox sits down for an interview at the governor’s mansion to talk about the ongoing drought and the Great Salt Lake on Tuesday, July 19, 2022.
From landmark reforms to state water laws to big investments in infrastructure, he believes it’s not too late for the Great Salt Lake. Utahns’ water consumption habits have drawn national scrutiny in...
(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Dust obscures Antelope Island and the Great Salt Lake on Saturday, June 18, 2022. The lake has hit another record low.
(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Dust obscures Antelope Island and the Great Salt Lake on Saturday, June 18, 2022. The lake has hit another record low.
And the drop is expected to stretch into the fall. For the second time in less than a year, the Great Salt Lake has sunk to a record-breaking low elevation. The news came as little surprise to water m...
(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) The extensive campus of the Facebook data center in Eagle Mountain is pictured on Wednesday, June 29, 2022.
(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) The extensive campus of the Facebook data center in Eagle Mountain is pictured on Wednesday, June 29, 2022.
Since computers are here to stay, efforts are underway to reduce the millions of gallons these facilities consume every year. Listen to reporter Leia Larson talk about this story with KUER or read the...
(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Construction of North Davis Sewer District's new pipeline along the Antelope Island Causeway on Tuesday, May 31, 2022. The pipeline will discharge treated water into the Great Salt Lake west of Antelope Island, instead of into Farmington Bay.
(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Construction of North Davis Sewer District's new pipeline along the Antelope Island Causeway on Tuesday, May 31, 2022. The pipeline will discharge treated water into the Great Salt Lake west of Antelope Island, instead of into Farmington Bay.
A Utah sewer district is saving ratepayers money, cleaning Farmington Bay and providing improved flows to the shrinking lake. As summer approaches, add toxic algal blooms to the long list of the Great...
(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) The prominent narrowing of Temple Fork Canyon, in the foreground, is where the proposed Temple Fork Dam dam would be located and the reservoir in the background, as seen Tuesday, May 3, 2022, in Logan Canyon.
(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) The prominent narrowing of Temple Fork Canyon, in the foreground, is where the proposed Temple Fork Dam dam would be located and the reservoir in the background, as seen Tuesday, May 3, 2022, in Logan Canyon.
In Cache Valley, district manager sees smaller-scale projects as a solution to supply concerns and securing more water for the Great Salt Lake. Logan Canyon • Temple Fork is a beloved hiking area by m...
(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) The Great Salt Lake, near Saltair on Saturday, March 26, 2022. Warm weather is expected to kick up more dust from the exposed lakebed.
(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) The Great Salt Lake, near Saltair on Saturday, March 26, 2022. Warm weather is expected to kick up more dust from the exposed lakebed.
Recent rains have tamped down the exposed lakebed, but drier, warmer weather is going to change that. Recent storms kicked up dust across the Wasatch Front, creating hazy skies and unhealthy condition...
(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) The shore of the Great Salt Lake on Stansbury Island on Saturday, March 26, 2022. The lake could shrink another 2 feet, hitting a record low for a second consecutive year, due to Utah's persistent drought.
(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) The shore of the Great Salt Lake on Stansbury Island on Saturday, March 26, 2022. The lake could shrink another 2 feet, hitting a record low for a second consecutive year, due to Utah's persistent drought.
State and local leaders are floating all kinds of water restrictions. Parts of Utah saw wet weather in recent days, but it wasn’t enough to dampen the state’s crippling drought. Water managers are bra...
(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) US Magnesium, seen across the Great Salt Lake from Stansbury Island on Saturday, March 26, 2022.
(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) US Magnesium, seen across the Great Salt Lake from Stansbury Island on Saturday, March 26, 2022.
Lithium mining also could lead to a greener future and secure more revenue to ensure the lake’s longevity. Chances are, the Great Salt Lake is part of your daily life, even if you don’t live in Utah....
Brian Footen paddles his kayak along the Great Salt Lake near the Spiral Jetty, just south of the Rozel Point peninsula on the northeastern shore, March 25, 2022. | Leah Hogsten, The Salt Lake Tribune
For Brian Footen, it will be the biggest and most challenging destination in a project to create Google Street View-style maps of drought-stricken waters and shores across the West. Spiral Jetty • Bri...
(Scott G Winterton | Pool) A Black Hawk helicopter flies over the Great Salt Lake as Utah lawmakers take an aerial tour of the Great Salt Lake with the Utah National Guard on Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022.
“It’s worse than I thought,” says one as legislators vow to take action. About 10 million birds visit the Great Salt Lake every year, and this week, about 90 state lawmakers are going to get a bird’s-...