Salt Lake City

Mayor's Office

Erin Mendenhall | (801) 535-7704

Salt Lake City’s Great Salt Lake wetlands and habitat preservation project selected for $2.2M grant

Nov. 7, 2023

Salt Lake City was selected to receive a $2.2 million grant from the Great Salt Lake Watershed Enhancement Trust (GSLWET) for a project to preserve and restore wetlands and habitat on the south shore of the lake.

The funding will assist in the acquisition of undeveloped land next to Great Salt Lake wetlands, as well as the implementation of a long-term management plan for improvements to the ecology and flow of water from the property to the Great Salt Lake.

“The wetlands surrounding the Great Salt Lake are an essential part of our ecosystem, and we have a responsibility to defend this habitat,” said Mayor Erin Mendenhall. “The City is committed to protecting as much of the wetland area as possible through intentional collaboration and meaningful partnerships with the lake’s stewards.” 

The idea for the City’s project was brought forward by community members, advocates, and scientists who helped champion this important work, including The Audubon Society’s Gillmor Sanctuary, Friends of the Great Salt Lake, Jordan River Commission, Utah Waterfowl Association, with support of groups such as the Westside Coalition. The grant application was spearheaded by Salt Lake City’s Department of Public Utilities.

“We are extremely grateful to the state for its foresight in creating and funding the GSLWET to benefit Great Salt Lake and its wetlands, and to the Audubon Society and The Nature Conservancy as the implementers of the GSLWET,” said Laura Briefer, Director of Salt Lake City Department of Public Utilities. “The selection of this land conservation project for funding is a catalyst for the long-term stewardship of the Great Salt Lake shoreline.”

The grant includes a match of at least $4.4 million for the total project, which identifies a pledge of $750,000 from the City’s Stormwater Fund associated with riparian projects. The City’s match includes the $750,000 pledge, in-kind contributions, and at least $3.4 million in grants and other fundraising efforts over the next two years. The City’s project was one of eight awarded for a total of $8,525,343 by GSLWET, which is co-led by the National Audubon Society’s Saline Lakes Program and The Nature Conservancy, and established in January 2023.

This multi-year endeavor, originally proposed in the Mayor’s FY2024 budget, will work in tandem with other efforts across the City to preserve the Great Salt Lake and its surrounding natural areas.

Salt Lake City recently received another $1 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge to curate and install public artworks addressing the shrinking of the Great Salt Lake caused by humans and climate change. 

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