UTAH'S WATER

State division pulls plug on Utah Lake Restoration Project proposal

Oct 27, 2022, 2:33 PM | Updated: Nov 18, 2022, 6:11 pm
The Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands has pulled the plug on the state's $6 billion-...
The Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands has pulled the plug on the state's $6 billion-plus plan to create human-made islands at Utah Lake.

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands has pulled the plug on the state’s $6 billion-plus plan to create human-made islands at Utah Lake.

The current application for the Utah Lake Restoration Project will be canceled, the division announced Thursday.

“Because the pending application considers the disposal of land that would impede navigation and permanently transfer sovereign lands to private parties, violating the public trust that is constitutionally imposed on these lands, the division determined that cancellation of the pending application is appropriate and required,” leaders with the division said in a statement.

The decision marks a “final step” for the current proposal, meaning the Lake Restoration Solutions, which proposed the plan, would need to reapply in the future.

The Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands said it has the authority to cancel the application if it determines it “is in the best interest of the beneficiaries” of the land in question.

In August, the Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands hinted that it could reject the proposal as director Jamie Barnes said the plan isn’t legal. Barnes said the project “presents a risk” to the state of Utah, including possible permanent loss of sovereign land.

The company’s plan called for dredging the lake, deepening it by 7 feet, on average, and using the material at the bottom of the lake to create human-made islands, some of which would be used for development, recreation and wildlife.

The Utah Legislature passed a bill in the 2022 legislative session to direct the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands to review options regarding the lake, which has suffered from low water levels and more algal blooms in recent years.

Last week during a town hall meeting with campus members at Brigham Young University, Gov. Spencer Cox said he believes that deepening parts of the lake is “important,” but he doesn’t know “if we should be building islands and houses” on it.

But he emphasized the need for general improvements, including reducing the amount of toxins that are being dumped into it — an effort he said he hopes happens, whether through the restoration project or another project.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Utah's Water

Great Salt Lake shrinking...
Matt Rascon

KSL+: Growing concerns over a shrinking lake

Four months after we first dove into the topic on this show, the shrinking Great Salt Lake remains a top issue for scientists, lawmakers and the media.
10 days ago
(KSL TV)...
Dan Spindle

Antelope Island on life support due to shrinking Great Salt Lake, experts say

It’s supposed to be surrounded by water, but right now, Antelope Island as we know it is on life support — suffering from the shrinking Great Salt Lake.
11 days ago
This image shows the growing shoreline of the shrinking Great Salt Lake. (KSL TV)...
Cary Schwanitz

Gov. Cox suspends new water rights in the Great Salt Lake Basin

Gov. Spencer Cox issued a proclamation Thursday that puts new water rights applications on hold in the Great Salt Lake Basin for the time being.
24 days ago
Students from the Horizonte Instruction and Training Center to visit with Kevin Perry from the Utah...
Mike Anderson

High school students learn about dangers of shrinking Great Salt Lake

Students from the west side of Salt Lake City took a field trip to Antelope Island Thursday to see the expanding lakebed of the Great Salt Lake.
1 month ago
Riley Niederhauser, a Salt Lake City Public Lands Department crew member, repairs sprinklers in Lib...
Carter Williams

Can a tax code amendment help Utahns conserve water?

SALT LAKE CITY — As ongoing drought conditions continue to pummel the West, a Utah water conservation advocacy group believes a tweak in the state’s tax code can be a major driver toward water consumption reduction goals according to a story at KSL.com. Public records show that Utah charges much more in property taxes than […]
1 month ago
Now's the time to stop watering your lawn. (KSL TV)...
Ayanna Likens

Utahns urged to stop outside watering for the season

With the weather getting cooler, now is the time to turn off your watering systems.
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
State division pulls plug on Utah Lake Restoration Project proposal