On the Site:


Environmental problems could change the blue at Bear Lake

Jul 6, 2023, 6:27 PM | Updated: 6:36 pm

LOGAN, Utah — There might be a change right now in the usual bright turquoise we’re used to seeing at Bear Lake. While it’s a temporary change, it may be a sign of a bigger problem.

The environmental group Bear Lake Watch said all the water from the Bear River is diluting the calcium carbonate particles that make Bear Lake’s water blue.

If you can’t truly appreciate what you have you may one day lose it.

“It’s a very pristine lake,” said Dr. Patrick Belmont, head of watershed sciences at Utah State University. “They only get worse from here unless we get smarter about it.”

Belmont said while there is no direct data that the lake is changing color now, aside from people’s observations, there are things happening here that we all should care about.

“And over these last couple of months, a lot of sediment has been coming in, just particles on the water that get distributed all around the lake and sometimes we can see these from the satellite imagery,” Belmont said. “We can see big swirls of sediment moving through the lake.”

That’s likely what we’re seeing now. It will eventually settle but it leaves behind some muddy shores and pushes the shallow beaches out further which he said can be a problem for fish that spawn upstream and the overall ecology.

“That used to be much less of a problem because the Bear River used to filter through Dingle Marsh and Mud Lake and a lot of those sediments would filter out here,” he added.

The other issue is perhaps more alarming. About two years ago algal blooms started to show up here.

“Which is a big concern,” Belmont said. So we’re putting more nutrients in the lake, specifically because there are some septic systems in there that probably need to be upgraded or converted over to real sewer wastewater treatment systems.”

He said cities, counties, developers, and homeowners need to work together to turn that tide back. “Because once you start that cycle, it’s really hard to reverse it,” he said.

While the Caribbean of the Rockies is sure to turn back to its normal color today, we could lose it permanently down the line.

“Now is the time to start taking action and build a better Bear Lake,” Belmont said.

Bear Lake Watch says it is working closely with Idaho’s Department of Environmental Quality and the US Geological Survey to measure sediment and some of those nutrients around the algal blooms.

KSL 5 TV Live

Utah's Water

An irrigation control wheel to allow or prevent water from running through ditches...

Dan Rascon and Larry D. Curtis

Great Salt Lake: Utah farmers adapting to survive drought, changing water laws

According to the USDA, more than 500 Utah farms went out of business between 2017 and 2022 while Utah goes through decades of drought. New Utah laws change a long-standing policy of 'use it or lose it.'

2 days ago

meetinghouse landscaping...

Carter Williams, KSL.com

Church implements ‘important’ landscape pilot program to cut water use

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has redesigned the landscape outside six of its Utah meetinghouses and is working to complete a seventh as it seeks to move forward with new conservation goals first outlined last year at the height of the state's severe drought.

8 days ago

President Chee shows KSL 5 News photographer the artesian well. (Erin Cox, KSL TV)...

Erin Cox

Water project to bring running water to southern Utah community for the first time

A community in southern Utah has been living for years without running water. Last year, they integrated electricity into their homes, and now they face the challenge of designing a water line around some archaeological sites.

17 days ago

Mike Schultz...

Mike Anderson

Lawmaker promotes water conservation, sustainable farming

A state legislator says he's investing a lot of money into making his farmland more sustainable, and he wants other farmers to know the state can help them do the same.

20 days ago

Great Salt Lake wetlands...

Carter Williams, KSL.com

Great Salt Lake trust issues $8.5M to 8 projects seeking to protect lake’s wetlands

The Great Salt Lake Watershed Enhancement Trust announced Tuesday that it is sending a little more than $8.5 million in grant funds over the next two years to help fund projects that seek to preserve wetlands by the Great Salt Lake.

22 days ago

Paul Larsen City Creek Canyon...

Lauren Steinbrecher

Most of City Creek Canyon will close beginning Nov. 1

People who like to hike or bike up City Creek Canyon will need to prepare for a huge closure that will last for three years, starting next week.

1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

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.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

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.

Environmental problems could change the blue at Bear Lake