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

People walk in the rain in Salt Lake City on Aug. 22. More rain and lower temperatures are in the f...

Carter Williams, KSL.com

Fall-like temperatures forecast for Utah before official season starts

Fall may begin Saturday, but it'll feel more like mid-season in parts of Utah over the next few days as a cold front passes through the state.

60 minutes ago

A man who fired shots at a Draper pizza store after his order was not ready was sentenced to serve ...

Emily Ashcraft, KSL.com

Salt Lake man sentenced to probation after shooting at a Papa John’s over order delay

A Salt Lake man who fired multiple rounds at a Papa John's in Draper after his order wasn't ready will serve two years of probation after pleading guilty.

2 hours ago

(KSL TV)...

Casey Scott

Casey Scott surprises Utahns at gym with free gas cards – and doughnuts

Casey Scott was celebrating by giving away free $50 gas cards to Utahns while they were getting in an early-morning workout on Thursday.

3 hours ago

It has been six weeks since pet owner Scott Donnachie has seen his beloved cat George....

Ashley Moser

St. George police warns of scam targeting pet owners looking for missing animal

It has been six weeks since pet owner Scott Donnachie has seen his beloved cat George. When his 5-year-old tabby cat went missing, he went straight to social media for help.

14 hours ago

Student loan confusion...

Matt Gephardt

Frustrated student-loan borrowers brace for payments to resume, but they have repayment options

People with student debt have spent the last several years in a political tug-of-war so it's hard to figure out what is and isn't happening. KSL Investigates hopes to answer those questions.

15 hours ago

Mascot Mania at Herriman High School...

Alex Cabrero

Mascot Mania wrestling event turns kids into superheroes

Hitting a guy on the head with a guitar sure looked like a lot of fun. The crowd that gathered at Herriman High School Wednesday night was there to see it happen.

15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Design mockup half in white and half in color of luxury house interior with open plan living room a...

Lighting Design

Lighting Design 101: Learn the Basics

These lighting design basics will help you when designing your home, so you can meet both practical and aesthetic needs.

an antler with large horns int he wilderness...

Three Bear Lodge

Yellowstone in the Fall: A Wildlife Spectacle Worth Witnessing

While most people travel to this park in the summer, late fall in Yellowstone provides a wealth of highlights to make a memorable experience.

a diverse group of students raising their hands in a classroom...

Little Orchard Preschool

6 Benefits of Preschool for Kids

Some of the benefits of preschool for kids include developing independence, curiosity, and learning more about the world.

rodeo contestant on a saddle bronc...


Get Ready for the Days of ‘47 Rodeo!

The Days of '47 Rodeo is a series of events everyone in the family can enjoy, with world-class rodeo contestants vying for the gold medal.

Electric LED Lightbulb Change In Light At Home...

Lighting Design

How to Know When to Upgrade Your Lighting

This guide explores indicators that suggest it’s time for a lighting upgrade with tips to make an informed decision when you’re ready to buy. 

Brunette guy in headphones playing games on his desktop computer...

PC Laptops

Looking For a New Computer? Use This Desktop Buying Guide

Choosing a new desktop computer can come with a lot of questions, so we created this desktop buying guide.

Recent storms increase the Great Salt Lake’s water levels