As Utah Lake battles one of the most serious Harmful Algae Blooms (HAB) in its history, once again the explanations for the outbreak are readily available.
The first? It is shallow. An average depth this year of between nine and ten feet.
The second? Water in Utah County, within which Utah Lake resides, is used primarily for agriculture. Crops that feed the cattle and dairy farms which, according this somewhat dated yet still relevant assessment from Utah Extension, show that Utah County was ranked first in the state in Total Cash Receipts from crop production and ranked third in Cash Revenue from livestock production.
As of July 2016, farmers and ranchers were being discouraged from using water from Utah Lake for irrigation and animals. The fact that these agricultural operations are using the very water to which they contribute excessive amounts of phosphorus (and other nutrients), that foster HAB, is ironic.
And, unfortunately, all too common.