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Historic attempts to cope with level variability of Great Salt Lake, Utah: a case study in social and environmental relationships Public Deposited

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https://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_projects/0k225b75n

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  • The Great Salt Lake is typical of Great Basin and other arid land saline lakes in morphological and chemical characteristics. As with other terminal lakes, the level of Great Salt Lake is determined by the variable weather patterns that are typical of arid and semi-arid regions. Because of it's flat, gradually sloping basin, the lake's depth is normally less than 35 feet; this means that a small fluctuation in level inundates or exposes large amounts of land. Such natural conditions present special problems for the land use planner and natural resources manager. The region's history is pervaded with frustrated attempts to develop the shores of the lake for recreation, wildlife, and industry. This study examines human response to climatic variability and the problem of fluctuating lake level. It reviews the history of Great Salt Lake shoreline land use from the first settlers' arrival in the Salt Lake Valley to the recent flooding event of the 1980's, and reviews historic and present perceptions and attitudes about the Great Salt Lake environment. Great Salt Lake level has been perceived as stable, and until the West Desert Pumping Project decision makers responded to immediate crises rather than potentially long-term lake level rises. The pumping project represents the first attempt to deal with the issue of longer-term lake level rise.
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