Recent storms increase the Great Salt Lake’s water levels

Jan 12, 2023, 6:19 PM | Updated: 7:29 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — In trying to save the Great Salt Lake, there is a long way to go. However, finally, there is a little bit of a reason to smile.

“I am excited. This is hopeful. This is very hopeful,” Dave Shearer said while looking up at the snow in the mountains.

Shearer is the manager at Great Salt Lake State Park.

He has been at the lake since before most people knew there was a stage worse than extreme drought.

So, when he noticed water back in the marina recently, he had to smile.

“These docks were floating in the mud a month ago. Now, they’re all floating in water, which is great,” he said.

As of Thursday, the lake is up one foot since its historic low last November. Last year, the lake only rose one foot total after the spring runoff before receding to low levels no one alive has ever seen.

“We weren’t really expecting that after the last 20 years we’ve had, so it’s good to be on this side of it for once,” said Shearer.

Every single boat is currently out of the Great Salt Lake Marina, but there’s a chance some of them may be able to go back into the water later this year.

That would include the state’s search and rescue boat. Shearer says that wasn’t part of the plan for this year.

“I don’t want to get people too excited yet, but we weren’t talking about that a month ago. Now we think there’s a chance of it,” he said. “We are at 185% snowpack for the Great Salt Lake drainage, which is just awesome.”

“There is a glimmer of hope indeed,” said Laura Vernon, who is the communications director for Utah’s Division of Water Resources.

Vernon says while it’s been great to see the lake rise, it is nowhere near where anyone is comfortable.

The Great Salt Lake is still in danger because of low water levels, and she says serious work, conservation, and legislative efforts are still needed to try and reverse the shrinking trend.

“All this precipitation is kind of letting us catch our breath and really get to work on finding solutions to bring water to the lake,” said Vernon. “So, our work is not done. In fact, it’s hardly getting started, and there’s plenty more to do and we recognize that.”

Vernon also mentioned a the causeway breach that was filled with four feet of soil this past June may have had an effect on lake levels.

“That kind of speed bump may have slowed down some of the water moving into the north arm, so its more backing up or kind of hanging out in the south arm,” she said. “But we are continuing to research that and trying to understand further if that’s contributing to the rapid rise in elevation.”

At least for now, though, it has been the kind of winter to celebrate.

“Well, the snow plowing gets a little old,” said Shearer with a laugh. “But other than that, the rest of it is positive.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

Matheson Courthouse...

Alexander Campbell

Nephi man sentenced to up to 30 years in prison for sex tourism

A Nephi man is spending up to 30 years in prison for his connection to sex tourism.

27 minutes ago

Shelby Lofton and Mark Jones

Wildlife experts looking into possible tularemia outbreak among beavers in state

The Utah Department of Natural Resources has identified 10 animals that have died from tularemia — a disease that can be transmitted to humans.

1 hour ago

Indian Hills Middle School's Amy Shaw, showing her class her collection of pins from the 2002 Winte...

Shara Park

Utah teacher inspires students with her passion for the 2002 Winter Olympics

An Indian Hills Middle School teacher hopes her love for the Olympic Games will inspire her students to get excited about a possible 2034 return.

2 hours ago

The Willard Spillway sending water to the Great Salt Lake....

Mike Anderson and Michael Houck, KSL TV

Large amounts of water sent to Great Salt Lake ahead of spring runoff

While Utah did not have a record water year this year, water managers say there is so much water that some is being sent into the Great Salt Lake.

2 hours ago

FILE - Bonneville International was recognized on Tuesday for its fundraising efforts during and af...

Mark Jones

Bonneville International recognized for its ‘Maui Strong’ fundraising efforts

Bonneville International has been recognized with the National Association of Broadcasters Service to America Award for its "Maui Strong" fundraising campaign, as announced Tuesday.

2 hours ago

Chad Daybell during his murder trial on April 16, 2024. (ADA County)...

Mary Culbertson

Judge bars prosecutor from taking stand in Chad Daybell trial

The murder trial of Chad Daybell continues with multiple testimonies from law enforcement officers.

2 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Recent storms increase the Great Salt Lake’s water levels