Water levels rising on Great Salt Lake after series of storms

Apr 6, 2023, 9:05 PM | Updated: Apr 7, 2023, 6:03 am

SALT LAKE CITY — It’s a good thing Duane Nicolette brought his wife Nicole Martin to see the Great Salt Lake this month.

They live in Atlanta. He has seen it before, but this is her first time.

“I really wanted to show her what Salt Lake is really like,” Nicolette said. “It is great. It is a beautiful site.

“Wow. It is very beautiful,” said Martin.

She might not have said that if they visited just a couple of months ago.

“It is great to see the water levels starting to come back up,” he said. “I know they have been down lately.”

The southern part of the Great Salt Lake is up now up 3 feet from its historic low last year.

Rocky reefs near the Great Salt Lake State Park visitor’s center that were visible in February are now back underwater.

It is a striking difference in just a couple of months.

“We were incredibly lucky to get a great snow pack this year. Depending on how things go with the runoff, this could be exactly what we needed to get out of the woods for this year,” said Ben Stireman with the Utah Department of Natural Resources. “But it doesn’t necessarily equate to letting our guard down.”

Even with Utah’s record-breaking winter, the state is still in a drought.

Conservation efforts are still needed and necessary to get the Great Salt Lake healthy again.

However, this past winter has been a great start.

There is now enough water at the Great Salt Lake marina to allow park workers to put the park’s search and rescue boats back in the marina.

They were taken out last year because low water levels made it difficult or impossible to access the lake from the marina.

Water levels at the lake are expected to continue to rise as the spring runoff begins.

It has many people wondering how high the lake could rise.

“No solid estimates yet,” Stireman said. “I think it is a little too early to tell on a good estimate. It all depends on how the snow melts.”

Gradual warmer temperatures would help the Great Salt Lake get as much water as possible.

Many of Utah’s reservoirs are expected to get close to full.

However, bigger places like Lake Powell and the Great Salt Lake would need several winters similar to what Utah just experienced to get into healthier ranges.

However, many say it is nice to see levels back up right now.

Even if it’s just a little bit.

“We definitely always need the lake,” Nicolette said. “I mean, that’s why Salt Lake is named Salt Lake.”

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Water levels rising on Great Salt Lake after series of storms