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Time is running out to weigh in on the Great Salt Lake Water Quality Strategy, a kind of vision statement for protecting the lake's unique values.

Friends of Great Salt Lake is one group planning to submit comments before the Monday deadline, said Lynn de Freitas, executive director of the advocacy group. With the proposed expansion of potassium sulfate operations, continued magnesium mining and discharges from a new water treatment plant in the Salt Lake Valley, developing a plan is "timely" and "welcome," she said.

"Certainly, the Great Salt Lake is at a crossroads," said de Freitas, pointing to the pressures posed by growth around the lake and the discharges into it. "Time will tell how the changes play out."

The plan, led by the Utah Division of Water Quality, has been in the works for more than a year. It considers mining and brine shrimping on the lake, as well as its internationally important wetlands, bird habitat and other environmental amenities.

In an executive summary, the plan notes the challenge of creating scientific tools needed to protect biological life and recreation on the lake.

"This effort will require a significant commitment of resources, along with careful planning to ensure efficient and effective use of these resources," the statement says. "This document provides important background materials that explain why a water quality approach specifically aimed at Great Salt Lake is needed and appropriate." —

On the Web

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