Developer discusses plan to revive, restore Utah Lake

Feb 3, 2022, 6:47 PM
Photo of Utah Lake [Photo Credit: Canva Images]...
Photo of Utah Lake [Photo Credit: Canva Images]

SALT LAKE CITY — An Orem company wants to revive Utah Lake, but the plan has more than 100 scientists and experts speaking out against the proposal. The company CEO discusses the latest developments in restoring the lake.

Lake Restoration Solutions (LRS) is proposing to spend $6.4 billion to dredge and create man-made islands on Utah Lake.

The project plans to dredge the floor of Utah Lake and construct, using the excavated material, several islands that will serve residential as well as recreational and conservational purposes, according to The Daily Universe. The privately funded project would deepen the lake on average by 7 feet.

Sue and countersue

LRS is suing Ben Abbott, an outspoken critic of the project and a BYU associate professor of aquatic ecology. The company is seeking at least $3 million in damages for defamation, false light and “intentional interference with prospective economic relations.”

LRS further said Abbott knowingly made false claims to sway public opinion.

Abbott’s lawyer Whitney Krogue argues the associate professor’s statements, made in various public forums, are not false and the LRS’ suit is itself an illegal “a strategic lawsuit against public participation” or SLAPP action, which should be tossed and subject to severe sanctions, according to The Salt Lake Tribune via Microsoft News.

MSN reported that Abbott has devoted much of his research to Utah Lake, the West’s third-largest freshwater lake.

“I’ve been really impressed with how brave [Abbott] has been through this, where he’s not allowed himself to be silenced by them. Most people, they get a $3 million lawsuit, and they would back down,” said Krogue.

Abbott and his attorney filed an anti-SLAPP statement and counterclaim Tuesday.

More than 100 scientists and experts speak out against proposed islands development for Utah Lake

Welcome to the show

LRS CEO Jon Benson spoke about the Utah Lake project with KSL NewsRadio’s Dave & Dujanovic.

Benson said the purpose of his company’s project is to restore Utah Lake, make the waters clean and healthy and let Utahns enjoy the lake once again.

“That sounds ambitious,” Dave said. “Utah Lake is — I’m not gonna say a total disaster — but I mean it’s pretty gross. You want to dredge it. You want to build on it. There’s so many levels to it. It seems like it would take an eternity to actually do this.”

Deseret News: Raw sewage still being dumped into Utah Lake in 1967.

“It’s a proven technology and proven remediation strategy for impaired waterways,” Benson said.

He said three types of islands will be created under the LRS proposal:

    • Wildlife islands designed to be refuges for birds and fish,
    • Recreation islands for campgrounds and
    • Community islands. “They’re there to have beautiful masterplanned, sustainable communities. It’s a way to pay for the project without having any type of new taxpayer burden,” Benson said.

“I’ve read in the news lately and been following the developments with a BYU professor who’s saying that the claims are not accurate. There’s going to be perhaps future issues if you do start dredging the lake. What is your response to people saying that this is just impossible?” Debbie asked.

Benson responded by saying that the Army Corps publicly released the application LRS send in weeks ago, which begins the environmental review process that will take up to two years to complete.

“Will this work? Will this deliver the benefits? That’s the burden upon us to prove that it’s true. And that’s the process that we need to go through,” Benson said.

Related reading: The contentious debate over the future of Utah Lake heats up as developers sue critic

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.  

Read more:

Today’s Top Stories

Dave & Dujanovic

Thanksgiving dinner with all the sides. (Stock photo)...
Alejandro Lucero

Pass the stuffing not the uncomfortable conversation this Thanksgiving

Dave and Dujanovic spoke with an expert who will help you void the gobble-squabble around the dinner table this Thanksgiving.
6 days ago
COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO - NOVEMBER 20: People hold a vigil at a makeshift memorial near the Club...
Curt Gresseth

‘I trained for this,’ says veteran who took down gunman at nightclub

A veteran joins the show to provide insight into the actions of another veteran who limited the loss of life at a Colorado nightclub by subduing the gunman until police arrived on scene.
7 days ago
Rioters at the US Capitol...
Curt Gresseth

Utah bill would limit police access to your cellphone data

A spokesman for a a libertarian think tank in Utah discusses why he supports a bill at the Legislature limiting law enforcement access to the cellphone of a person near a crime scene.
8 days ago
rollercoaster lagoon...
Curt Gresseth

Lagoon spokesman explains big price hike for day pass

Lagoon announces Primordial, a new one-of-a-kind interactive rollercoaster, coming in 2023, but with the new ride comes higher season passes.
11 days ago
Police provided an update but added little new information about four University of Idaho students ...
Curt Gresseth

Police stay quiet after quadruple homicide in Idaho

A killer is on the loose, police in Moscow, Idaho, are tight-lipped and a community is on edge after four university students were found slain Saturday.
12 days ago
A Utah psychiatry expert joined KSL NewsRadio's Dave and Dujanovic to discuss how friends and famil...
Curt Gresseth

Setting boundaries on a friend or family member’s addiction

Instead of boundaries that look like giving in or cutting off the person with an addiction, one Utah expert suggests seeking middle ground.
12 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
Developer discusses plan to revive, restore Utah Lake