Island creation and design play a critical role in restoring Utah Lake. Island containment areas store and sequester nutrient-loaded sediment on Utah Lake. While the nutrient-loaded sediment does not contain industrial pollutants, these island containment areas are designed to store and sequester soil so nutrient-loaded sediment does not leach back into the water column. This is one of the ways The Utah Lake Restoration Project plays a vital to restoring Utah Lake’s water quality.


In collaboration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers published the Beneficial Use Planning Manual (“Identifying, Planning, and Financial Beneficial Use Projects Using Dredged Material”) which explains that most sediment can be put to beneficial use:

A common misperception among the public is that dredge material is usually contaminated; in fact, a significant portion of material dredged from U.S. waters is not contaminated…the promotion of beneficial uses continues to require a shift from the common perspective of dredge material as a waste product to one in which this material is viewed as a valuable resource that can provide multiple benefits to society (USEPA, 2007, p. 5-9).

The Utah Lake Restoration Project is aligned with the national dredging policy both in restoring Utah Lake as the largest natural freshwater lake in Utah and providing beneficial and productive use of dredge material for “wetland creation, beach nourishment, and development projects” (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 2015, p. 1-2).


Storing and sequestering the nutrient-loaded sediment in Utah Lake is vital to restoring the lake’s water quality. Available data indicates the nutrient-loaded sediment does not contain industrial pollutants, and can be stored and sequestered. The Utah Lake Restoration Project is designed to contain nutrient-loaded sediment so it does not leach back into the water column.

Islands play a critical role in restoring Utah Lake Water quality by:

  1. Storing and sequestering fine silts which are easily resuspended in the water column
  2. Storing and sequestering nutrient-loaded sediment
  3. Increasing the depth of the lake
  4. Reducing wave height and forces


These conservation actions will transform Utah Lake from a turbid, hyper-eutrophic lake with a suspended mud bottom, to a clear water-state lake ideal for fish, wildlife, and recreation.


Three types of islands (estuary, recreation, and development) will be created and each has a specific function. You can learn more about them below.


Estuary, or barrier, islands are designed to protect the inner shoreline of Utah Lake and allow for the creation of an inner littoral zone restoration area. Estuary islands act as a barrier to wind/wave events as well as providing protection of the shoreline from annual spring ice-flows. They will also provide prime wildlife and fish habitat for native species.

Barrier Islands create 50 miles of additional shoreline for birds, riparian plants, and provide a place for littoral zone plants to become re-established. The inner waterway between estuary islands and the lake’s shoreline provides protected areas for native fish and utilization by waterfowl for feeding, nesting, and brood rearing.


Recreation islands are sized and positioned to act as wind and wave breaks across the lake. The shapes of the island also creates protected boating areas during storms and wind/wave events. The role of islands to control wind and wave action.

Recreation islands are designed to provide a more diverse lake experience. Island design provides protected bays and coves allowing boaters to enjoy the lake for longer periods of time throughout the day. Each of the recreation islands will have docks and other locations for shoring boats, including sailboats. Beaches for playing, pavilions for picnicking, overnight campgrounds, and cabins will provide retreats for supporting increased recreational opportunities on the lake. In total, there will be several thousand acres of recreational space to enjoy Utah Lake and its islands. New islands designated as “recreation” or “estuary” will be open to the public.


The Lake Restoration Solutions approach depends on conservation and development not only subsisting together, and in fact relying on each other to create a balance between human activity and the natural environment. A master-planned, LEED certified development will include more open parks and greenspace, increased mixed use real estate, medium density, high density and lower percentages of single family residences and will offset current development trends and instill more environmental responsible behaviors from the community. Development islands are designed for living, working, and recreating in harmony with the surrounding watershed. Housing, business, commercial, and entertainment centers are focused on community-centered living. Infrastructure will be designed to provide environmentally conscious engineering and construction solutions.


Hands-on volunteer service with our Save Utah Lake team is just a click away. Sign up and we will notify you as soon as a service opportunity comes up.



Hands-on volunteer service with our Save Utah Lake team is just a click away. Sign up and we will notify you as soon as a service opportunity comes up.