A White Pelican above Farmington Bay at the Great Salt Lake (Roger McDonough | KCPW)
Today on “In the Hive,” we take a look at the situation for the millions of migratory birds that rely on the Great Salt Lake for their survival. The Utah Department of Natural Resources says the lake’s water level will likely reach an all-time low in the coming days as drought conditions grip our region. But drought is one part of a complex of problems affecting the lake, “the tip of the iceberg” (an expression that could soon cease to have much meaning). Because of climate change, the Western United States is projected to get drier and hotter and to see reduced snowpack and streamflows. Humans also continue to divert significant amounts of water out of the tributaries that feed the lake, including its largest source of replenishment, the Bear River. As a result, the Great Salt Lake ecosystem and the life it sustains is imperiled. This is part one of a series.
Mark Bell, PhD student with the Department of Wildland Resources at Utah State University