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Thinning forests is proposed as a way to bring more water to Great Salt Lake

Aerial shot of snow-covered pine trees
Laura Seitz
Deseret News

Tree thinning and active forest management was proposed as a way to help bring more water to the struggling Great Salt Lake in a letter penned by Salt Lake County Council member Dea Theodore. The letter and fact sheet, supported by other representatives and commissioners, notes that overgrown, frequently unhealthy forests and non-native trees consume trillions of gallons of water that would otherwise flow to the lake. Without drastic changes to consumption, the letter said, the lake will dry up in five years.

They recommend active management especially in areas like the Great Salt Lake Basin’s watershed such as prescribed burns and logging overgrowth. This strategy of thinning forests has proven effective in California’s Kings River Basin as well as the American River Basin.

The proposal faces several roadblocks including prescribed burns affecting air quality and high costs. Supporters hope to get the issue before the state Legislature in a 45-day time span.

Duck is a general reporter and weekend announcer at UPR, and is studying broadcast journalism and disability studies at USU. They grew up in northern Colorado before moving to Logan in 2018, so the Rocky Mountain life is all they know. Free time is generally spent with their dog, Monty, listening to podcasts, reading or wishing they could be outside more.