Sponsored: Utah Lake Restoration. Led by an expert team of scientists, engineers, professionals and researchers with decades of experience restoring degraded waterways.

Lake Restoration Solutions | Estuary Island (concept art)

Imagine a better lake Utah

Imagine spending a weekend camping on a Utah Lake beach with your family, boating on the lake, or hiking miles of new trails. Imagine a clean, healthy Utah Lake. Imagine conserving billions of gallons of water every year.

Utah Lake is a vital part of our state’s water infrastructure. As the nation’s second driest and fastest growing state, Utah urgently needs solutions to help mitigate the effects of the worst mega-drought in at least 1,200 years. The Utah Lake Restoration Project would conserve tens of billions of gallons of water per year.

Lake Restoration Solutions | Current Conditions – Utah Lake

It’s no secret that Utah Lake is in desperate need of help. For decades, much has been said about what could be done about it. While a healthy Utah Lake would be a great boon to our state, cleanup efforts are estimated to be in the billions of dollars. This has been the main obstacle to a complete restoration of Lake Utah. The Utah Legislature has found that there is no reasonable source of public funding to undertake the comprehensive solutions needed to restore Utah Lake (Utah Code 65A-15-103). The Utah Lake Restoration Project has a solution to pay for the massive undertaking without raising taxes. The cleanup effort has its own built-in funding mechanism. Community islands will include some development to fund which is otherwise too costly to fund publicly.

Dredging will remove nutrient polluted sediments that fuel toxic algal blooms from the lake bed. I will also deepen the lake, reducing disturbance of the lake bed by wind-driven waves and facilitating the recovery of submerged aquatic vegetation.

Dredged material will be advantageously used in containment areas which appear as strategically shaped and located islands to improve circulation and control wave action on the lake. Dredged material will be sequestered to prevent nutrients from entering the lake.

Island building is an integral part of restoring Lake Utah. Nutrient-laden sediments must be removed and containment areas located in the lake are an environmentally friendly way to store and sequester dredged materials. Additionally, they offer other key benefits.

The islands reduce the area of ​​the lake. On a lake as large as Lake Utah, even a 20% reduction in surface area results in significant water conservation with billions of gallons saved from evaporation. The remaining 80% of the lake area would still be larger than Bear Lake and more than 20 times larger than reservoirs like Jordanelle and Deer Creek.

Containment areas (islands) will also be used beneficially to provide important additional habitat for waterfowl and other birds and terrestrial wildlife. The shorelines create an environment for the growth of native vegetation, which will also help secure the lake bed and provide habitat for fish.

Lake Restoration Solutions | Recreational Island (concept art)

Three types of islands will be created by the project: wildlife/estuarine islands, recreational islands and community islands.

The wildlife or islands in the estuary will protect the shorelines and create a healthy and ideal wildlife habitat. The creation of miles of new coastal habitats for wildlife as part of these islands is a huge benefit to a healthy and restored ecosystem. These islands also act as a barrier against winds and waves and protect the coastline from annual ice floes.

The recreational islands will be open to the public and will provide protected bays, coves and docks for boaters and swimmers to safely enjoy the lake. Utah residents and visitors will enjoy beaches and lodges for day use, overnight campsites and miles of new hiking trails.

Community islands will be home to beautiful, planned and sustainable communities that will cover the cost of restoration. Thanks to this development, the project can be carried out without increasing taxes. These islands are designed to live, work and recreate in harmony with the surrounding ecosystem. Environmental and sustainable best practices will be applied wherever possible in the communities, with infrastructure designed to provide environmentally friendly living.

About half of the new land created will be for public uses, including recreation, wildlife habitat, public access and open space.

A history of collaboration

COO and President of Lake Restoration Solutions, Jon Benson, explains the primary goal of the project as “a comprehensive restoration and enhancement of Lake Utah to a healthy, vibrant, usable body of water that benefits Utah County and the community.” statewide” stating that “Utah has a proud history of working together to solve problems. We embrace a diversity of opinions and believe that through careful and thoughtful collaboration, we can and will succeed in this green effort global, leaving a legacy that we are proud to pass on to our grandchildren.

The Utah Lake Restoration Project is currently being reviewed by the US Army Corps of Engineers and other federal and state agencies under the National Environmental Policy Act. The plan will undergo a thorough environmental review over the next eighteen to twenty-four months.

For more details and updates on this exciting project, visit imagineutahlake.org.