Gephardt Podcast: The race to rescue the Great Salt Lake; why a renowned Utah researcher says it may not be too late

Westminster College professor Dr. Bonnie K. Baxter, PhD, director of the school's Great Salt Lake Institute believes there is still a chance to rescue and restore the lake, but the time for action is now. Photo: Gephardt Daily

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Feb. 8, 2023 (Gephardt Daily) — Dr. Bonnie K. Baxter, PhD, professor of genetics and astrobiology at Westminster College is also the director of the school’s Great Salt Lake Institute.

Considered a foremost expert on the study of saline environments and ancient microbial life forms, she and her students have been scrutinizing the lake‘s decline for years. She’s seen it ebb, she’s seen it flow — but mostly ebb — to the point where it is now at virtually the lowest level in its recorded history.

Late last week, in the hours prior to Gov. Spencer Cox’s executive order requiring the state to capture more of the anticipated heavy spring runoff, Baxter appeared on the Bill Gephardt Show Podcast. In a timely and in-depth interview, she spoke in detail about the fate of the lake if left unmanaged, and the deeply disturbing environmental markers she’s seeing right now, markers she and her colleagues believe point to an ecosystem on the brink of collapse.

Despite these dismal discoveries, Baxter, always the optimist, believes the lake can still be saved, but she says there’s no single solution and time is of the essence.

To learn more about the courses of action Baxter feels stand a chance of restoring the greatness to the Great Salt Lake, check out Bill’s podcast below.

For further insights into Baxter’s groundbreaking studies, including work which could prove key in the search for life on Mars, watch her Feb. 2021 interview on a previous episode of the Bill Gephardt Show Podcast.

This sponsored edition of the Bill Gephardt Show Podcast is made possible by these supporters of independent local journalism: Legacy Roofing, Stauffer’s Towing, ES Solar and Brad DeBry Personal Injury Law Firm.


  1. Personally, aside from drought, I belive the demise of the Great Salt Lake is due more to the massive population explosion which, of course, has caused a massive strain on our water use. Do what you may to conserve water, but as long as the demand keeps increasing as it has, we’re fighting an uphill battle.


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