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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.

Utah Rivers Council announces policy guidelines to help Great Salt Lake

A conceptual figure of Great Salt Lake filled with different colors of water, each labeled with a category of lake protection solutions.
Utah Rivers Council

“The 4,200 Project is a comprehensive solution to raise the Great Salt Lake water levels through a package of new legislative policy measures that will address the chronic upstream water diversions that have lowered the Great Salt Lake over the last 20 years,” said Zachary Frankel, executive director of the environmental advocacy group the Utah Rivers Council.

Frankel announced The 4,200 Project at a press conference Wednesday, which proposes policy solutions for water saving initiatives and water allocation to Great Salt Lake.

The project, named for the estimated healthy lake elevation of 4,200 feet above sea level, features a guidebook with 12 policy recommendations, including setting a target lake elevation, pushing in-stream flow legislation forward, and protecting the lake from future water diversions.

Frankel emphasized the importance of setting a target lake level to measure progress in protecting Great Salt Lake—a prospect Utah lawmakers shied away from in last year’s legislative session.

“If we deliver 50 gallons or 100 gallons or 10,000 gallons, have we saved the Great Salt Lake or how big is that step forward in these water deliveries?” Frankel said.

Even with record-breaking spring runoff, Great Salt Lake water levels remain far below average.

“In just a few months, we've dropped almost two feet since that massive 40 year high snowpack runoff,” Frankel said. “So we can't rely on Mother Nature to solve the problems that residents have created in Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming upstream of the Great Salt Lake.”

Unless Utah sees another snowy winter, Frankel anticipates Great Salt Lake dropping to a new record low in 2024.

Learn more about the 4,200 Project at and Great Salt Lake water levels at

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.