Utah Lake is one of the largest freshwater bodies in the West, covering about 95,000 acres (380 km2). Between this large, shallow lake and the towering Wasatch Mountains, over half a million people live within the narrow strip of land that is home to the Provo-Orem metropolitan area –the seventh fastest growing population in the nation.

Unlike the briny Great Salt Lake to the north, Utah Lake once abounded with fish and wildlife. The lake and its surrounding wetlands remain critical for fish and wildlife resources, flood mitigation, and recreation. Historic and recent anthropogenic activities (mining; urban, industrial, and agricultural run off; effluent from waste water treatment plants, etc.) have introduced significant amounts of pollutants such as excessive nutrients, arsenic,trace metals, and polychlorinated biphenyl compounds into the lake. The lake struggles with pollution, loss of biodiversity, and harmful algal blooms,and thus a negative perception by the public.

Currently, Utah Lake does not play a vibrant role in community life. Anthropogenic impacts, water quality, and public perception have all contributed to the under-utilization of the lake. Research conducted through this service-learning project will help inform policy makers in their decisions about Utah Lake, and contribute to the rejuvenation of the lake and surrounding communities.

This project is funded for three years, and our goal for each year is to answer the following research questions:

Year 1- What is the history and the real and perceived status of the inadequacy of Utah Lake as a natural resource?

Year 2- What are the causes of the inadequacy of Utah Lake as a natural resource?

Year 3- What countermeasures could rejuvenate Utah Lake as a natural resource?

To reach these goals, this project has six main research areas.

Read the Proposal

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GP-UP: Undergraduate Preparation through Multi-disciplinary Service-Learning at Utah Lake(UP–Utah Lake)

Environmental Science

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Communication & Perceptions

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Water Chemistry & Mapping

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Business Development

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Human Geography

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Hydrology & Geospatial

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