The water in the North end of the Great Salt Lake has decreased to a concerning low. Great Salt Lake registered low water level record, with only 4,191 feet last month, according to the Utah Department of Natural Resources.
The last time the water of the lake was so low was in 1963. The southern portion of the lake doesn’t do so well either. In fact, in the South of the lake the water is one foot deeper than the lake’s lowest depth ever. Scientists predict a new all time low for the South region of the lake in 2016. Scientist Cory Angeroth said that that is only a possibility and that the levels of the lake could change if enough rain will occur during this winter and spring. He also said that the conditions of the winter so far and the expected storms could change the fate of the lake.
The North of the lake is separated from the rest of it by a railroad causeway. The Union Pacific Railroad Causeway has modified the salinity of the lake, and the North waters even developed a bacteria that turned the water into a purple color. As the levels of the water dropped a lot, the water stopped flowing through the railroad’s cracks for the first time ever. The cracks were actually built to stop the flooding, when the lake reached high levels in 1980.
Although it has been called America’s Dead Sea, the lake is the habitat for millions of native birds, shore birds, brine shrimp and waterfowl. The northern part of the lake is also important because of the white pelicans that live there. The American white pelican(Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) is a large aquatic bird that lives in North America and moves South in the winter. About 10% of the species uses the Great Salt Lake as a nesting ground. As this species is protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, keeping one of its habitats intact is of great importance.
It is also the place where the Spiral Jetty was sculpted by Robert Smithson in 1970. The Spiral Jetty is an earthwork sculpture that is made entirely of salt crystals, mud, basalt rocks and water. The sculpture is 1,500 feet long and 15 feet wide. In times of drought the sculpture is revealed, while when a lot of precipitations occur, the structure submerges. Let’s not forget that some companies extract salt and minerals from the northern region of the Great Salt Lake.
The officials are concerned with the registered low water level record, as it influences not only the environment but the state’s industry as well.
Image Source: www.upload.wikimedia.org