Decker Lake Update

County Council member Aimee Winder Newton reached out to the Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation Director and received this information back:

Decker Lake is a County Park. The lake and water are 100% dependent upon storm drain run-off which means the water quality is not great and it never has been. It is a retention basin, with no water flow in or out besides storm water that comes in. We don’t have a way to regulate or control the water level, basically it’s a retention and settling pond that we have dressed up with walking paths. At this point we don’t have any plans long or short to make improvements or enhancements to Decker Lake.

At this time of year, when the water gets hot, the water and mud start to grow botulism spores on the bottom of the pond which the ducks love to eat. Unfortunately the spores are deadly to the ducks. The water grows the bacteria because it isn’t a high quality body of water, meaning there isn’t a flow in and out to keep it clean and cool. It’s Mother Nature at work. We can’t and don’t control what the ducks eat, the state has jurisdiction over the wildlife and we can’t try to chase them away to eat other food items.

As the temp drops, the water cools and spores won’t grow and the ducks and birds are healthy. I know this doesn’t fix the issue for the bird advocates, but in order to “improve” the water it would be a multi-million dollar project, which is not in our plans at this time. Hope this helps, give me a call if you need more info.

We’re grateful for the information, but have a few follow up questions for Parks & Rec.

august 13
In this photo, the water level is low and migratory birds are dying. This was taken when the sick, paralyzed avocets were rescued, but died from botulism.

august 18
Five days later, the water level had been raised significantly.


In this video, taken on August 18th, water is shown flowing into Decker Lake that was turned on while I was walking by. It wasn’t flowing into the lake when I arrived, but was flowing in by the time I left.

So my open questions are:

1. What, if any, capabilities are there to control water levels at Decker Lake? What are the triggers that result in the water level rising?

2. What party is responsible for regular maintenance of garbage dumped in and around Decker Lake? How often is garbage being picked up at Decker Lake? (Note: One broken white plastic lawn chair has been on the shore and in the water since at least 2018.)

3. What party is responsible for removing dead animals from the water? Who should one call to report a dead animal in the water?

It’s possible the water quality can be improved with simple measures that don’t require a multi-million dollar investment. Can ANY maintenance of trash and dead animals happen at Decker Lake with EXISTING funding for Parks & Rec?

Read previous post about dying migratory birds at Decker Lake.

26. August 2019 by Silly Human
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