Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Thursday AM headlines: snowmelt continues to impact Utah rivers, Great Salt Lake commissioner pushes for water conservation progress

Visitors explore a large earthen spiral artwork on the shore of a lake. A large dark island is in the background.
Aimee Van Tatenhove
Visitors explore Spiral Jetty, a large earthwork installation in Great Salt Lake's north arm.

High water from melting snowpack continues across Utah

High water and flooding is expected to continue across Utah as warm temperatures melt the state’s substantial snowpack.

Earlier this week, the Nebo Loop Scenic Byway south of Provo partially washed out, according to the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest.

The Provo River is expected to double in volume over the next week. Managers opened a spill gate early Wednesday morning to release water into the Provo River as water levels continue to rise behind the Deer Creek Dam. Currently, the Deer Creek Reservoir is six feet from full capacity and will be allowed to fill an additional three feet.

Other rivers across Utah, including the Ogden and Sevier rivers, are predicted to see increased water flows in the days ahead as well.

Great Salt Lake Commissioner warns against 'Great Salt Lake fatigue'

Brian Steed, the executive director of Utah State University’s Institute for Land, Water and Air (ILWA) and nominee for the newly created Great Salt Lake Commissioner role, cautioned that Utahns may develop “Great Salt Lake fatigue” as this winter’s monumental snowpack refills Great Salt Lake.

Steed argued that despite high water flows across the state this spring, we still need to focus on improving our water management practices for future drought years. Researchers estimate that Great Salt Lake is approximately 11 feet lower than its natural elevation, due to upstream municipal and agricultural water consumption.

If the Senate confirms Steed to the commissioner role, he will oversee state agencies involved with managing Great Salt Lake’s water, industries, and wildlife in addition to his duties at ILWA.

Utah mayor to challenge Romney for Senate seat

Riverton, Utah Mayor Trent Staggs has entered the 2024 Senate race as the first Republican to challenge incumbent Mitt Romney.

Staggs is running on an anti-establishment platform, arguing that Romney has helped push the country into greater debt and does not represent the values of the average Utahn. As Riverton mayor, Staggs made headlines in 2020 for refusing to enforce a county mask mandate, despite increasing COVID-19 transmission.

Utah House Speaker Brad Wilson, former U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz and state Attorney General Sean Reyes have expressed interest in running as well, but none have committed to the race. Romney has not announced whether he plans to seek reelection.

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.