WASHINGTON D.C. – Utah Congressman Blake Moore’s Saline Lake Ecosystems in the Great Basin States Program Act passed the Senate on Monday, December 19, and now heads to President Biden’s desk awaiting approval to be signed into law. The proposed legislation would establish a scientific monitoring and assessment program to help save the Great Salt Lake and other saline lakes in the West.
“I was grateful to use my role in Congress to play a part in this solutions-oriented approach to one of our region’s greatest challenges,” said Congressman Blake Moore. “Over the last two years, I have worked with Senator Romney and the Utah delegation to bring awareness and solutions to the challenges that threaten the Great Salt Lake and our neighboring saline lakes. I am thrilled this bill has received the support necessary to head to the president’s desk, and I thank all who have worked on this legislation to get it to the finish line.”
The Saline Lake Ecosystems in the Great Basin States Program Act would give the U.S. Geological Survey resources to conduct scientific monitoring and assessments in collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and tribal, state, academic, and nonprofit organizations to build effective management and conservation efforts to protect crucial Saline Lake habitats within the Great Basin network.
The Saline Lake Ecosystems in the Great Basin States Program Act builds on the important, broadly supported work in the Utah State Legislature to address the shrinking Great Salt Lake. The bill endorses the work authorized under the Concurrent Resolution to Address Declining Water Levels of the Great Salt Lake, which passed the Utah State Legislature unanimously in 2019.
The newly proposed bill has received support from Governor Spencer Cox and several organizations, including but not limited to: the National Audubon Society, Compass Minerals, Trout Unlimited, the Utah Waterfowl Association, Utah Wetlands Foundation, and the Nature Conservancy in Utah.
“This is a superb bill for the future of the Great Salt Lake and the animals and people who rely on it,” said Cox. “It would address the economic value associated with the lake and the importance of migratory birds, help fill gaps in science around hydrology, integrate existing work on water quality, and assess future water needs. This legislation could be a key to ensuring the viability of the Great Salt Lake far into the future.”
Part of the proposed bill includes data collection, specifically the assessment of needs related to water quantity, water quality, water use, and water demand, as well as the study of migratory birds and other wildlife populations and habitats, which will be used to devise a plan on how and what needs to be saved in the Great Salt Lake ecosystem.