- Restoring water clarity and water quality
- Conserving water resources in and around the lake
- Preserving the water storage and water supply functions
- Removing invasive Phragmites and carp species
- Restoring littoral zone and other native plant communities
- Restoring and conserving native fish and other aquatic species including the Bonneville Cutthroat Trout and June Sucker
- Increasing the suitability of the lake and its surrounding areas for shore birds, waterfowl, and other avian species
- Improving navigation on the lake
- Maximizing and ensuring recreational access and opportunities
The lake’s condition has been degrading for years and is in a constant state of degradation. Without a comprehensive restoration, fixing all the issues, the lake will continue to have massive algae blooms and water quality issues that close the lake yearly.
Large algae blooms have been recorded on the lake for some time. We started researching solutions to the issues facing the lake in 2006 after an algae bloom closed the lake. Since that time, there have been multiple closures and the lake will only continue to degrade. The critical stage is now; comprehensible solutions must be started as soon as possible.
Utah Lake has degraded water quality and is impaired by high levels of phosphorus and nitrogen that come from our waste water plants and other sources. Over the years, large amounts of phosphorus and nitrogen have become embedded in the bottom sediment. These sources cause massive algae blooms during prime recreation summer months, limiting recreational opportunities to locals. Fixing our treatment plants and dredging up the bottom sediments and encapsulating them in islands is the only way to fix this issue.
No, the water will stay at its natural fluctuating level as we dredge with Army Corp of Engineer approved “cutter suction” dredgers that float on top of the water.
Evaporative Savings: Utah Lake evaporates roughly 50% of its water annually (150B gallons). By reducing the lakes surface area by roughly 17%, deepening the lake and adding channels where cooler water sinks, the project estimates saving 24.5B gallons of water in annual evaporation.
Consumption by Invasive Species: Phragmites, an invasive weed, and other non-native plant species consume large amounts of water every year. By eradicating phragmites and restoring natural littoral zone plants along shorelines and in the lake, the project estimates conservation of another 9.6B gallons annually.
Separate gray water and black water treatment systems reduce household water use by 43%.
Subsurface irrigation systems for yards, parks, green and open space save over 65% of water used by typical sprinkler systems. The result is grass, and native plants and trees that are more drought resistant.
Exclusive use of auto-actuated taps saves 70% of all tap water usage.
Currently, there is little shore access to Utah Lake because of a phragmites infestation which covers 8,000 acres of the shoreline. The project will spend $10’s of millions to remove and maintain a phragmites free shoreline.
Shore access is a key component of the project. One way the project will improve access is by building a 14′ wide trail around the entire lake, uninterrupted by roads. You will find pine trees, bathrooms, and a place to rest every 3 miles with tie-ins to beach areas, access roads, and other regional trail systems to give multiple options and venues to get to and enjoy the lake shore.
The simple answer is dredged bottom sediments. The bottom sediments of the lake are composed of silt, clay, sand, gravel, calcite rock, and plain rock. Just like the benches and farmland in the valley were once part of ancient Lake Bonneville, the material is compactable and buildable.
The project will use 1,000’s of 15′ to 20′ core samples from across the lake to determine what materials exist in what location. We will then use that information to dredge in multiple places and mix the outflow material coming from the dredgers to get an engineered mix that will have the highest strength possible. After the islands are formed, we will use wick drains to drain the water from the dredged material followed by mechanical compaction which can compact up to 40′.
Recreation islands are accessible only by boat and are set aside for the general public’s use. Recreation islands serve a vital role in reducing wave height and force which ultimately reduces re-suspension of bottom sediments.
Recreation islands will be covered with native trees and vegetation, trail systems, and have available camping spots with similar pricing as other Utah campgrounds. Recreation islands have big bays with sand beaches, docks and anchoring for sail boats.
One of the goals of the project is to restore the native fishery and the June sucker, removing its federally endangered listing. We have designed a world class fish hatchery and littoral plant nursery that will aid in the restoration of the entire lake. The marine life must have a healthy lake ecosystem in order to survive and thrive going forward. The key to a healthy ecosystem is the littoral zone restoration. Without the littoral zone, designed to be tripled in size during the project, the native fishery will not be able to be restored.
We have been working with the Division of Natural Resources (DNR), Division of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Division of Water Quality (DWQ), and the Utah Lake Commission.
Moving forward we know that we’ll be working with additional agencies, both state and federal, and look forward to merging plans for a seamless recovery while protecting the environment.
First and foremost, this project is a restoration of Utah lake. State and federal dollars are unreliable and are allocated year to year. The only viable option to secure the large investment needed to fund this project is through private investors. Some of the islands will be used as development to fund the entire project. This saves the taxpayer from having to pay the bill. No taxpayer money will be used to restore the lake.
Since no state money will be used to fund the restoration of the lake it is very unlikely to influence taxes within the state. Because there will be development and a new city added to the state, it will increase tax revenues collected by the state and the tax base.
As with everyone living in the Utah Valley, when you flush the toilet that water eventually makes its way into Utah Lake. The project will first help local cities clean up their sewage plants to an EPA Tier 1N rating. This is the highest rating the EPA is considering for future law. These sewage plant upgrades will cost the project $163+ million but are necessary if we want to reduce algae blooms caused by phosphorus and nitrogen.
We will also build a new state-of-the-art waste water/sewage plant that will be constructed on the west side of the lake. All sewage from the new development island will be pumped off the island and treated and cleaned in this new plant. Water from this new plant will be a minimum of a Tier 1N rating and will flow back into the lake helping general lake flow and mixing from the south part of the lake into the fresher northern part helping overall lake water quality.
The Governor’s Office Population Projections for 2060 place another 600,000 people in Utah Valley, adding to the State’s need for water. To accomodate this growth, the State, along with CUWCD, is working to provide that water resource.
By doing the Lake restoration, the project is creating an emergency source of usable water (roughly 132 billion gallons of additional water storage capacity in the Lake) as well as saving an estimated 34.1 billion gallons a year in evaporation and other losses (see “What about the Water?” in Q&A above).
Not only will the project help the Lake conserve its water, but the new development that pays for the conservation introduces water conservation technologies that will make it one of the most water conscious and conservation minded developments in the world.
It’s not just about finding the water, it’s about altering how new developments are built in the state-specifically using innovative technologies that save valuable resources. The project is focused on working with the state on all fronts, especially on water conservation.
Solar Farm (100+Mw), the project will construct a large solar farm in the west desert and use innovative solar energy building materials on rooftops and other structures.
Wind Farm (50Mw), the project will build a wind farm in Utah with ties to the grid.
Waste-To-Energy (60Mw), WTE are innovative, clean burning plants that take material that generally goes to landfills and burns them cleanly at very high temperatures converting them to energy. The project is looking to use WTE technology integrated with a vacuum trash collection system to improve efficiencies and reduce landfill volume requirements by 90%.
Local Power Supplier, the project will contract with local suppliers for the remainder of required energy.