Utah Division of
Forestry, Fire & State Lands

Utah Department of Natural Resources

Great Salt Lake Research Grants

Request for Proposals (RFP) 2018

The Utah Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry, Fire & State Lands requests proposals for research projects that will assist the Division in becoming better-informed stewards of Great Salt Lake. It is the intent of the Division to gain a better understanding of the lake system which leads to informed decision making regarding long-term management of this important ecosystem.

The Great Salt Lake Tech Team, through its Research and Grants Subcommittee, has identified eight “hot topics” that research projects will address in Fiscal Year 2018, either individually or in combination:

  1. Wetland Water Quality - Identify the mechanisms by which different wetland types immobilize and retain nutrients, sediment, and other pollutants from GSL inflows. What levels of pollution impair the ecological function of the wetlands?
  2. Wetland Water Quantity – What are the legal and political strategies for ensuring that GSL wetlands have sufficient water supplies to remain healthy and continue providing a range of ecosystem services? What risks do these wetlands face from increasing water diversions for urban growth upstream and from climate change? What opportunities exist to ensure water security for these wetlands? How is the water needed by the wetlands connected to water needed by the larger lake environment?
  3. UPRR Causeway Breach – The recent breach of the UPRR causeway provides numerous opportunities for GSL research and exploration. What will the impacts of the new breach have on the deep brine layer? Will the fate and dispersion of the north arm brine have similar impacts on the south arm when compared to the flow from the old culverts? How does the reestablishment of the deep brine layer impact the trace elements in the lake such as mercury and selenium? What new forecasting tools could be developed to predict the salinity of the deep brine layer? A new bidirectional flow algorithm for the breach and bridge channel that includes mixing of the layers at the interface could be calibrated to more accurately predict the salinity of the south arm’s deep brine layer when compared to the current prediction method.
  4. Exposed Lake Bed and Air Quality Impacts – Vast areas of exposed GSL lake bed are exposed and subject to erosion. Existing research is identifying potential source areas and geochemical composition, however, addition concerns include: How does the chemical composition change from source to deposition? What are the concentrations of potentially harmful compounds? Can we differentiate between GSL dust and other sources? What are the potential impacts with respect to dust on snow?
  5. GSL Brackish Bay Nutrient Budgets - Although nutrient budgets for Gilbert Bay have been a recent research topic, similar studies for GSL’s brackish bays have not been completed. What are the sources and impacts of nutrients for GSL brackish bays? How does internal nutrient processing in the bays impact nutrient exports to Gilbert Bay? If nutrients negatively impact bays, what strategies might be useful to abate nutrient sources?
  6. Fish and Benthic Invertebrates in Farmington and Bear River Bays - These two bays provide critical feeding and nesting habitat for birds that use the lake. Although the brine flies in Gilbert Bay have received some study, the composition and distribution of benthic invertebrate and fish assemblages in our two fresher bays have yet to be systematically documented, and environmental factors influencing these assemblages have not been studied.  Systematic surveys of these organisms would provide a further understanding of the GSL ecosystem and the unique food web. Further, how do desiccation, eutrophication and pollution influence the invertebrates, and in turn influence bird communities dependent on them?
  7. Algae and GSL Phytoplankton- The taxonomic composition and density of phytoplankton populations vary both temporally and spatially among GSL’s bays. What environmental factors influence this variability? How do these differences in phytoplankton composition and density impact GSL’s food webs and ecosystem functions?
  8. Wetland Revegetation – Once Phragmites and other non-native vegetation has been removed from GSL wetlands, what are successful revegetation techniques? What native/desirable plants have the greatest likelihood to succeed and discourage phragmites regrowth?

Download the Request for Proposals document for more details and requirements.

Deadline for submission of proposals is March 6, 2017 by 5:00 pm.