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Dorsey Pictures


The Great Salt Lake is a marvel of the seen and the unseen, a body of water that impresses through its sheer size and surprising subtlety. Some 338 bird species visit the Great Salt Lake and its associated habitats. This body of water is so large that it creates a sort of regional weather system, pumping out moisture that supports Utah’s famous ski resorts. And in its saline waters thrive tiny brine shrimp—each one perhaps a half-inch long—that nourish many of the 10 million migratory birds that congregate in and around the lake and support a multimillion-dollar commercial fishery.

Unfortunately, the Great Salt Lake is shrinking. Half of it has disappeared since the first settlers came to the area. Agriculture and other human uses take away much of the lake’s natural freshwater inflows each year, and Utah’s population is expected to double by 2050. As the lake’s shores subside and the lake bed dries to a crumbly crust, winds pick up the naturally occurring arsenic and mercury in the sediments to create air-quality challenges that are among the most intractable in the country.

Nevertheless, the Great Salt Lake remains a massive repository of water in a vast and arid landscape. To help secure a bright future for this imperiled ecosystem, Ducks Unlimited has launched an ambitious effort to raise funds for conservation measures in the region. The Great Salt Lake Initiative has received tremendous philanthropic support. Dominion Energy recognizes the critical threats and important role that the lake plays in the future of their customers and community and is a strong supporter of the initiative. To date, Dominion Energy has committed $80,000 to the Great Salt Lake Initiative, helping DU leverage other private and public dollars to complete conservation projects on the ground.

In addition, a new IMAX film currently in production will help inform the public about the threats facing the Great Salt Lake and the importance of conserving its fragile habitats. Produced by the same team that brought the astonishing story of the Prairie Pothole Region to the public in Wings Over Water, the film will highlight the connections between the Great Salt Lake and the human and wild communities it supports. Videographers used waterfowl blinds, remote-controlled cameras, ultralight aircraft, and time-lapse cinematography to capture raw footage, while intensive post-production work will create the signature IMAX experience. The film is scheduled to be completed later this year and will be shown at a new IMAX theater that is currently under construction at Antelope Island State Park on the shores of the lake.