PM Brief: Giving Wild Game, Silver Lining in Drought Stats and New Antelope Island Research Labs

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Friday, April 8, 2022

Northern Utah

Extensive research facilities at Antelope Island

Utah on Friday unveiled plans for an expanded visitor center on Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake. The state legislature has appropriated $13 million that will go toward renovating the current building and creating a science education center. It will include laboratories and a workspace for researchers, as well as a new auditorium for school outings. Officials called this type of research and education “vital” given the record low water levels in the Great Salt Lake. Antelope Island has seen an almost 32% increase in visitors between 2020 and 2021. — Elaine Clark

It’s all whale and good

A new public art installation has pierced the surface of a Salt Lake City neighborhood east of Liberty Park. The Salt Lake City Arts Council commissioned the sculpture, titled “Out of the Blue,” from artist Stephen Kesler. For some, the 23-foot-tall whale is a welcome sight; others wish it remained submerged. Renato Olmedo-González, the city’s public art program coordinator, said the talk was exciting because “the power and responsibility of public art” is to “spark conversations.” Read the full story. — Emily means

State

Wild game gift

Utah hunters can now donate wild game meat to local food banks and other nonprofits. Governor Spencer Cox recently signed HB 142 make it legal. Before that, game meat could be given to people in need. Hunters must be licensed and the meat must come from a healthy animal. It should be trained in the field immediately and sent to a custom processor as soon as possible. The new law also creates a public account where people can donate money to help meat processors. — Lexi Peery

Good news in drought statistics

This year’s snow is already melting rapidly and is unlikely to bring much relief to Utah’s parched reservoirs. The Salt Lake Grandstand reported water stored in Utah snow is decreasing with unusually warm weather. At the end of March, the snow water equivalent was 88% of normal. As of April 1, it was 75%. Tank storage is just over half full, but down from the same time last year. Some good news though; soil saturation is above normal and higher than it was at this time last year, which will help runoff efficiency. — Leia Larsen, The Salt Lake Tribune

This article is published through the Utah News Collaborative, a partnership of Utah news organizations that aims to inform readers across the state.

Region/Nation

Bird flu spreads in the Mountain West

Bird flu is spreading in our area, but the first thing to know is that it poses a low risk to people according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But the disease can be fatal to birds, especially poultry. In the Mountain West region, the virus has been detected in backyard flocks in Wyoming and Montana. In Colorado, authorities recently discovered the disease in wild geese. The virus has caused the death of millions of birds. This raises concerns about rising poultry and egg prices amid inflation and supply chain issues. Meanwhile, the USDA says fully cooking poultry and eggs will keep people safe. — Robyn Vincent, Mountain West News Bureau


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