|Date:||Thursday, 16 April|
|Time:||8:00 am - 5:00 pm|
|Cost:||$60.00. Box lunch included in registration fee.|
|Organizers:||Frank Howe and John Luft, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources|
|Enrollment:||Must pre-register on registration page. Maximum of 20 individuals.|
The Great Salt Lake is the largest lake west of the Mississippi.
It's a terminal, saline lake that supports a dynamic and diverse
ecosystem. The lake rests on the eastern edge of the Great Basin at
the doorstep of the Wasatch and Uinta mountain ranges. The salt water
system is relatively simple with few species adapted to cope with the
widely fluctuating lake levels and salt content. Brackish and freshwater
wetlands abut the salt lake and feature a wide diversity of plants
Field trip participants will visit a state-managed freshwater wetland on the east shore of the Great Salt Lake. Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area and its Nature Center provide an urban interface with the lake and its natural resources. The WMA provides habitat for over 200 species of birds, and shorebird and waterfowl migration should be nearing a peak during our visit.
On the west side of Farmington Bay, near the middle of the Great Salt Lake, is Antelope Island State Park. We will reach the island via a 7-mile causeway which will give us access to the lake's "open water interior" without a boat. The causeway divides two major compartments of the lake; while closely related, these compartments vary in nutrient levels, salinity, and system dynamics. Besides providing us a platform to view open water species, the causeway attracts many bird species to its sandy and rocky beaches.
Antelope Island will provide us with several different vantage points from which to view and explore the lake. We will literally immerse ourselves in the saline environment to better understand the lynchpins of the Great Salt Lake ecosystem: brine shrimp and brine flies. We will also take a short hike through the islands upland habitat to the northernmost point of the island overlooking a large bird colony. We'll make a stop at the islandís visitor center (a chance to contribute to the local economy) and round off the day with a look at the island's population of bison.
About the Organizer:
Frank Howe is the University Liaison between the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and various universities developing research projects related to wildlife issues. He also serves as a Faculty Cooperator with Utah State University and as Adjunct Faculty at Brigham Young University. He spent 15 years as the UDWR Nongame Avian Program Coordinator involved with all aspects of avian ecology, biology, conservation and research in Utah. Because of its hemispheric importance to bird populations, the Great Salt Lake Ecosystem has been a focus of Frank's interest.