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Ramsar Designation

Great Salt Lake to be nominated for Ramsar Designation

Ramsar Convention on Wetlands is a designation of global “recognition”. The Great Salt Lake is the largest inland sea in the western hemisphere, the fourth largest terminal lake in the world and the second saltiest lake in the world.  The Great Salt Lake fulfills 7 of 9 Ramsar criteria based on ecological merit.  (Satisfying only one criterion is sufficient to qualify for Ramsar designation).  Currently, Karri Smith, local restoration ecologist/wetland scientist and a member of GSLA, is nominating the Great Salt Lake for Ramsar designation.

To date, all of the required landowner endorsement letters have been obtained (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge and The Nature Conservancy (as lessee)).  However, The State of Utah Division of Fire, Forestry, and State Lands has yet to endorse the effort.  Additionally, a letter of endorsement from Congressman Jim Matheson as a “Congress Member of the geographic area” (i.e., Great Basin Desert Region) has also been obtained per U.S. Ramsar nomination requirements.  Utah Audubon Council (a coalition of all four Audubon chapters in Utah) will be submitting a letter of support. 

If you would like to learn more about the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, please visit their website at