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Great Salt Lake Advisory Council Annual Report 2013

Great Salt Lake Advisory Council Annual Report 2013

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Published by State of Utah
Great Salt Lake Advisory Council Annual Report 2013, for more information, please visit http://www.gslcouncil.utah.gov/
Great Salt Lake Advisory Council Annual Report 2013, for more information, please visit http://www.gslcouncil.utah.gov/

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Published by: State of Utah on Feb 06, 2014
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“The Great Salt Lake Advisory Council is playing a vital role in helping to balance the many important uses of the Great Salt Lake. Now is the time to ensure this valuable natural treasure is protected for future generations.” 
Governor Gary Herbert
Great Salt Lake Advisory Council
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3rd Annual Report to the Utah State LegislatureNatural Resources Appropriations SubcommitteeFebruary 2013
 
Duties of the Great Salt Lake Advisory Council
Legislation creating the Great Salt Lake Advisory Councilidentifies five specific “duties” of the Council:
1)ADVISE
the governor,the Department of NaturalResources (“DNR”), and the Department of EnvironmentalQuality (“DEQ”)
“on the sustainable use, protection, and development of the Great Salt Lake” 
(“GSL”)
“interms of balancing: (i) sustainable use; (ii) environmental health; and(iii) reasonable access for existing and future development.” 
2)ASSIST
the Division of Forestry,Fire and State Lands(“FFSL”) in its statutory responsibilities for the Great SaltLake (i.e. to prepare and implement a comprehensivemanagement plan, initiate and publish studies of the lake,coordinate activities of DNR divisions with respect to the lake).
3)RECOMMEND
appointments to the GSLtechnicalteam and utilize technical support from that team.
4)ASSIST
DNR and DEQ and their boards in theirresponsibilities for the Great Salt Lake.
5)REPORT
“annually” 
to the Natural ResourcesAppropriations Subcommittee
“on the council’sactivities.” 
BACKGROUND
The Great Salt Lake Advisory Council (“Council”) was established by House Bill 343 in the 2010 session of the Utah StateLegislature. Council members were appointed by Governor Herbert, with consent of the Utah Senate. Governor Herbertkicked off the initial Council meeting on June 30, 2010.
Great Salt Lake Advisory Council
2
Avaluable resource for industry, recreation, conservation and water treat-ment, The Great Salt Lake adds $1.3 billion annually to Utah’s economy.
2012 Tasks and Activities of the Great Salt Lake Advisory Council
During 2012, the Great Salt Lake Advisory Counciladdressed all five of its primary work plan tasks andobjectives, as follows:
1)
The Council prepared and presented its 2nd AnnualReport to the Utah State Legislature Natural Resources,Agriculture, and Environmental Quality AppropriationsSubcommittee. It also briefed the Executive branch,including meetings with Lt. Governor Greg Bell andwith Department and Agency Directors.
2)
The Council published its comprehensive economicbenefit report on Great Salt Lake, entitled “Evaluation of the Economic Impacts of Great Salt Lake on the State of Utah” and its initial report on lake health, entitled“Definition and Assessment of Great Salt Lake Health.”
3)
The Council developed a master list of GSLresearchpriorities – “Great Salt Lake Research Topics Database”identifying and prioritizing necessary GSLresearch bytopic, title, purpose, description, projected cost, and urgency.
4)
The Council conducted an inquiry into the occur-rence of non-native
Phragmites 
in the Great Salt Lakeecosystem, developed a briefing paper and overview,considered options for eradication, and presented itsrecommendations.
5)
The Council investigated water supplies, prepared abriefing paper on “Integrated Water ResourcesManagement for Great Salt Lake,” and recommendedfunding for a GSLIntegrated Water ResourcesManagement (“IWRM”) model.The Council further fulfilled its statutory responsibilities toadvise, assist, recommend and report by holding eight for-mal meetings and one field tour in 2012, with briefings,updates, reports, discussions and counsel on topics includ-ing water quality standards for Great Salt Lake, GSLComprehensive Management Plan, and other GSL-relatedtopics. The three major 2012 Council papers (on GSLResearch, Phragmites, and Integrated Water ResourcesManagement) are summarized, below.
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Paper: “Phragmites – Impairing the Great SaltLake Ecosystem”
The occurrence of non-native
Phragmites 
inthe Great SaltLake ecosystem has increased rapidly and currently domi-nates approximately one-third of wetlands surrounding the lake.
Phragmites 
reduces native wetlands and associated species,limits use by native wildlife, excludes favorable forage andnesting plant species, traps sediments, and limits lakeaccess for recreation, research and search and rescue. The Council’s conclusions regarding
Phragmites 
are incorporated into a paper that addresses recent researchand identifies future treatment opportunities. The Councilsupports the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and StateLands in its request for funding to treat
Phragmites.
Paper: “Integrated Water ResourcesManagement for Great Salt Lake”
Understanding changes in future water supply and its rela-tionship to GSLlake level is central to sustainable economicbenefits from the lake and is important to sustain criticalhabitat and a healthy ecosystem. Accordingly,the Councilrecommends development of an Integrated Water ResourcesManagement (“IWRM”) model for GSL. This recommendation is summarized in a paper that pro-vides an overview of the topic, summarizes research objec-tives, recommends IWRM as a research priority, identifiespossible research partners, and estimates the cost and time-frame to develop such a model.
3
Akey way station on the Pacific Flyway, the Lake’s wetlands support millions of shorebirds and waterfowl.
©TNC photo
Removal of phragmites, an exotic species which compromises wetlandsand industry, is a top priority of the Great Salt Lake Advisory Council.
Report: “Great Salt Lake Research TopicsDatabase” *
In 2011 the Great Salt Lake Advisory Council (“Council”)sponsored two significant studies of Great Salt Lake: 1) on the economic contributions of GSL(“EconomicSignificance of the Great Salt Lake to the State of Utah”)and 2) defining health for the unique GSLecologies(“Definition and Assessment of Great Salt Lake Health”).These significant reports were summarized in our February2012 Annual Report.Development of these reports and participation in other GSL-related issues and activities, led the Council to conclude thatthere remains insufficient data regarding both lake-relatedeconomic activity/opportunity and lake ecology/health.Consequently, the Council determined in 2012 to assemble amaster list of research priorities. The priority list developedincludes thirty-nine (39) research topics in eight (8) cate-gories. Key criteria for making the priority list included: 1) research would help to answer critical questions related topermitting activities around GSL; 2) research would answerprimary scientific questions about fundamental lake processesor characteristics; and 3) research would directly influenceand or improve lake management and planning. The nine (9) highest ranked topics include: map wetlandtypes, management units, and surface water inputs to GSLwetlands; develop hydrologic model of GSLbasin; identifytoxic pollutants for specific aquatic and aquatic-dependantGSLspecies based upon salinity classes; understand nutrientsources, loading, cycling and influence on GSLecology;control of Phragmites invasion around GSL; understanddeep brine layer dynamics; develop GSLhydrodynamicmodel; update and understand mineral/salt balance of GSLand development of planning horizon for mineral extrac-tion; and further assess economic values.
(* Prepared for the Council by SWCAEnvironmental Consultants, anenvironmental planning, compliance and resource management firm.) 
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