Major development on the scheme to dredge Utah Lake
The Utah Department of Natural Resources told a legislature interim committee last week that the Attorney General’s office considers the proposal to dredge Utah Lake unconstitutional because it is privatizing the lake bed.
The proposal by Lake Restoration Solutions (LRS) includes plans to dredge the lake and build artificial islands. “LRS’s promotional materials describe build-out scenarios with nearly 170,000 residential and 27,450 commercial units — essentially enough to support a city of half a million people” a Salt Lake Tribune article on the recent development cites.
The company claims their proposal will help restore the lake. Common sense and the opinion of every relevant scientific expert that has reviewed the project conclude that dredging the lake would be an environmental disaster, detrimental to the health of the lake, a massive new source of water consumption and additional source of local air pollution.
A previous Salt Lake Tribune article reported that the proposal to dredge the lake and create artificial islands would block access to a pump that provides water to Salt Lake County. Currently, water managers trade Utah Lake water for cleaner snowmelt from local canyons, like Parley’s, that are facing their own threats. The proposal aims to deepen the shallow lake by 7 feet, which drew “a myriad of concerns” from Utah’s scientific community, who say it could undermine the lake’s natural function and ecological resilience. Experts wrote a letter expressing concern over the proposal, citing “intentional disregard of available science about the lake’s history, status, and trajectory.”
This is great news. But we are not assuming the battle is over because the political clout of developers and sympathetic legislators will once again emerge with a new strategy.