Document Type



Utah State University

Publication Date



birds, avian, Great Salt Lake, waterbirds, survey, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, eutrophication, habitat, nutrients, Farmington Bay, Bear River Bay, Willard Spur

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Farmington Bay and Bear River support massive numbers of migratory birds. Because of Farmington Bay’s high nutrient loading and hypereutrophic condition, the Utah DWQ has proposed to list it as impaired under EPA’s and Utah’s 303d criteria. There is concern, however, that changing nutrient loading might influence invertebrate prey of birds, but it is not known if this would be a positive or negative effect. Bear River Bay is far less eutrophic, but has a similar shallow morphometry, and thus presents an ideal comparative opportunity to assess the influence of eutrophication on birds.

From 2007‐2011 the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources did an extensive survey of birds in Farmington and Bear River Bays, as well as other portions of the lake. The data, however, have never been analyzed to address the relative densities of birds in the two bays. I propose a small project to analyze this data and provide simple graphs that will allow managers to address potential influences of nutrient load reduction on Farmington Bay. The study will provide information for managers and stakeholders deciding whether Farmington Bay should be listed as an impaired water body.