|Utah's Great Salt
Lake is the largest natural saltwater lake in North America, and is
internationally recognized for its importance to migratory water birds.
The Mitigation Commission and The Nature Conservancy (TNC)
partnered to preserve valuable habitat around the Great Salt Lake,
particularly in the Layton-Kaysville area, where TNC has
established the Great
Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve. The Preserve is an undiked natural
landscape located on the eastern periphery of the Great Salt Lake and
consists of approximately twelve contiguous shoreline miles and roughly 4,000
acres. Its visitor center features an open-air pavilion, 30-foot-high
observation tower, and mile-long boardwalk trail through prime bird-watching
Educational exhibits along the boardwalk offer lessons about the Lake's
birdlife, habitats and need for its protection.
Since 1994, the Commission and TNC have acquired
over 1,750 acres with Commission funds, primarily in the Great Salt
Lake Shorelands Preserve. These purchases have complemented other area
acquisitions, some by The Nature Conservancy and some by private
entities for wetland mitigation banking. All the acquisitions result
in securing the area for wetland restoration and wildlife values.
In August 2019, the Mitigation Commission released a draft Environmental Assessment regarding the transfer of all its Federal ownership within the GSL Shorelands Preserve to TNC with deed restrictions, which would protect the property in perpetuity from future development. The draft EA also considers whether or not to authorize TNC to subsequently transfer 15.84 acres of that property to the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT), which they need for construction and operation of the West Davis Corridor.