EnviroNews: Sevier Dry Lake leased for mining

By Amy Brunvand

The Bureau of Land Management has leased the entire lakebed of Sevier dry lake near Delta, Utah for a potash mine. According to the plan, the whole lakebed—all 125, 000 acres—will be developed from a remote desert playa into an industrialized fertilizer mine with trenches and evaporation ponds served by rail lines and power lines.

Since the lake is dry, the evaporation ponds must use groundwater, but there have not been adequate environmental impact studies of how groundwater drawdown would affect wildlife or existing water rights holders in the area.

The Utah Audubon Council notes that flooding Sevier lake will activate dormant brine shrimp cysts and attract migrating birds as happened in the 1980s, and this might actually be a benefit for birds.

This article was originally published on September 30, 2019.