Dust from the shrinking Great Salt Lake is causing early snowmelt.
Any development or project that lowers the level of the Great Salt Lake has a consequence that is not usually acknowledged or discussed. Dust from the expanding lake bed blows over the mountains and accelerates the melting of our snowpack, which acts to decrease our overall water resources. This exacerbates the persistent and worsening drought we are dealing with.
A Salt Lake Tribune article states “As the lakebed dries, dust can land on the state’s snowpack in the mountains, causing the snow to absorb more sunlight and melt faster.
This, in turn, means more water becomes absorbed in the soil and doesn’t reach the lake.
And while Great Salt Lake’s decline has been caused mainly by diversions of water upstream for residential and agricultural use, loss of snowpack melt certainly doesn’t help it, or the rest of the state.”
That’s just one reason to oppose the Bear River Project, which would reduce the flow from the primary inlet to the lake. Dust accelerating snow melt is also a reason to oppose the Parley’s Canyon open pit limestone mine, as well as the Pine Valley water grab, a groundwater diversion scheme to siphon aquifers in Pine Valley to foster growth and population expansion in the Cedar City area. That’s exactly what UPHE wrote to the BLM in our opposition comments. Please oppose these projects to protect our water resources and discourage extra pollution in our area.
Aside from reducing our water resources (something we can hardly afford to allow), dust is a hazardous pollutant that has serious health consequences. The dust being exposed by the shrinking Great Salt Lake not only contributes to general air pollution, but also has high levels of arsenic.