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A blue color gradient graphic shows a drop of water. Text reads, "Great Salt Lake Collaborative."
Great Salt Lake Collaborative
Great Salt Lake is at its lowest water level on record and continues to shrink. Utah Public Radio has teamed up with more than a dozen Utah organizations for the Great Salt Lake Collaborative, a group that has come together to share multimedia stories and rigorous reports about the lake and ways to protect this critical body of water before it's too late.

Reporting Project: Great Salt Lake Wetlands StoryMap

A bird flies over green grasses.
Francisco Kjolseth
/
The Salt Lake Tribune
A great blue heron takes takes flight at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, a 74,000-acre nature reserve in the northern Great Salt Lake on Wednesday, June 23, 2021.

The Great Salt Lake Collaborative has created an interactive website to help Utahns understand the critical role Great Salt Lake and its wetlands play in the ecosystem that is crucial to 10 million birds.

Called “Water for Wildlife: Dire consequences of a shrinking Great Salt Lake,” the project uses stunning images, audio, video and text to answer questions including: Why is the lake shrinking? Why does it matter to wildlife? What birds rely on the lake? What are the solutions?

It was created for a general audience to help Utahns understand the crucial role the lake plays in Utah’s ecosystem. Its visuals and clear writing also appeals to children.

While Utah is benefiting from a historically large snowpack that has helped the lake rise 3 feet this winter, that doesn’t mean the lake’s problems are solved. It reached an historic low last November and needs an additional 7 feet to reach a healthy level.

The website was collaboratively designed by Utah Public Radio reporters and a Salt Lake Community College geosciences professor. It includes images and video from KSL-TV, FOX 13 News, Deseret News and The Salt Lake Tribune.

The project was funded by the Great Salt Lake Collaborative, a journalism initiative that unites Utah newsrooms and community partners to inform all Utahns about the crisis of the shrinking Great Salt Lake and what to do about it. The Collaborative newsrooms have jointly produced around 300 articles about the lake since it formed in 2022.

Aimee Van Tatenhove is a science reporter at UPR. She spends most of her time interviewing people doing interesting research in Utah and writing stories about wildlife, new technologies and local happenings. She is also a PhD student at Utah State University, studying white pelicans in the Great Salt Lake, so she thinks about birds a lot! She also loves fishing, skiing, baking, and gardening when she has a little free time.