Stop Climate Change From Drying the Great Salt Lake

Target: Michael S. Regan, Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency

Goal: Enforce laws to better protect water quality of the Great Salt Lake to ensure the maintenance of biodiversity and human health.

The Great Salt Lake is the largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere, spanning across five counties in northern Utah. While the lake used to cover over 3,300 square miles in the mid-to-late 1980’s, it has since shrunk by nearly two-thirds and now encompasses a mere 1,000 square miles. As the lake continues to shrink due to national changes in climate, its salinity levels are increasing dramatically, making it unsuitable for many of the beneficial plants that once thrived there. This loss of plant diversity will likely lead to a decline in populations of animals like brine shrimp, zooplankton, and flies that currently inhabit the lake. The lake also provides a habitat for tens of millions of native birds that come to feed on these tiny creatures and, if the brine shrimp disappear, so will the birds. 

Not only will the shrinking of the lake be catastrophic for wildlife biodiversity, it will also have major consequences for those who live and work along its shores. The lake bed contains high levels of arsenic and, as the lake shrinks, these beds become more exposed. Arsenic, which is poisonous to humans, can get picked up by wind storms and carried into the lungs of nearby people and animals. 

Sign this petition to urge environmental lawmakers to better protect the water quality of our lakes, and to prevent the dangerous consequences of a shrinking Great Salt Lake.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Administrator Regan,

The Great Salt Lake is one of the most important natural resources in the state of Utah. It serves as a site of economic prowess for Utah, as it harbors extractable minerals, such as magnesium, and provides a popular resort destination for skiers. The lake is also an important national ecosystem, home to a diverse population of migratory birds that come annually to feed on the brine shrimp and flies that inhabit the lake. In recent years, however, human activity and environmental pollution have forced changes in global climate patterns. These changes have heavily contributed to the shrinking of the Great Salt Lake, which now stands at a mere third of what it once was.

As the Great Salt Lake dries up, so do the species that rely on it. The climate, which is heavily regulated by the lake, will change even further, making the lands potentially uninhabitable by wildlife that live along the shores. As if this is not enough, the drying of the lake will have devastating effects on the health of the humans who reside there. The lake contains high levels of arsenic that, once exposed, will turn the air surrounding the lake poisonous. 

We must take action to tackle this “environmental nuclear bomb” before it is too late. Scientists suggest the Great Salt Lake might dry up as early as this upcoming summer, so actions must be taken fast. We must do better to preserve the biodiversity, climate, and human life that this lake sustains. We are urging you, Mr. Regan, to please take measures to protect the water quality of the Great Salt Lake and to prevent this fate for other lakes, as well.

Sincerely,

[Your Name here]

Photo Credit: Pixabay


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