June 7, 2022- I read an article, a few minutes ago, about Great Salt Lake being in danger of becoming Great Salt Lick. In my lifetime, Salton Sea, Aral Sea and Arizona’s own Stoneman Lake have virtually disappeared. I have seen huge salt licks in Nevada, which, though tourist-sites on their own, do not provide sustenance to those who live nearby. They used to be part of Lake Lahontan, which is still large, but not the behemoth it once was.
The lake, though, is not what drew those whose choices are endangering it. They came for the mountains-the Wasatch Front, which borders the Salt Lake City-Provo-Brigham City metro area on the east. They are often forced by Homeowners Associations to use exorbitant amounts of water, to maintain the green lawns which the HOAs and their attorneys regard as essential to maintaining property values. Yet, here’s the rub: The very people on whom these lawyers depend for their communities’ survival will move, maybe en masse, if the lake is sacrificed for the grass AND the toxic soil that is left behind becomes windblown, creating the sort of haboobs that sometimes torment Phoenix and its eastern and southern suburbs. The difference is that the Salt Lake bed contains huge amounts of arsenic, which would be blown eastward, into the lungs of HOA directors and tenants alike. HOAs in the Phoenix area long ago began transitioning to xeriscapes in their neighbourhoods’ yards. My guess is that Utah, being also largely in a desert environment, will have little choice in the long run, but to do the same.
Then again, there are those bottom lines to consider.