9.29.2010

What's up with Utah Lake?


I just read this fascinating article in the Deseret News on Sunday.  If you have ever been to Utah Lake and wondered why the water was so murky, this article explains why and what is being done to try to restore the lake's water quality and get an endangered species off the endangered list at the same time.

The short version of the story is that we screwed the lake up by changing the way the water flows and by introducing carp into the lake.  There is currently an effort underway to remove 5 million pounds of carp from the lake each year.  Carp make up a staggering 90 percent of the lake's biomass.  "By constantly churning up the lake's muddy bottom, carp transformed Utah Lake from a pristine, clear, shallow lake into an unsightly brown body of turgid water".

At the same time the carp are being removed, an endangered species of fish called the June Sucker, is being hatched and reintroduced into the lake.

And the water quality is actually getting better, even though it may be hard to tell.

"The water quality in Utah Lake is better, thanks to the increase in water and other things, but it's not evident because of the carp in the system," Wilson said. "They keep the solids in suspension and make the lake look dirty. The water quality is much better than it appears."

You can read the full article on the Deseret News website.

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