Lake Wasatch may be dead but a smaller version of the proposal to dike off a section of the Great Salt Lake to create a freshwater reservoir is still alive for Bountiful architect Don Johnson.
Johnson told the Davis County Commission Monday he is still working to install a test section of the dikes he has designed about two miles from shore near the Antelope Island causeway.The commission approved Johnson's request for reimbursement of $950 in expenses from funds appropriated by the state to help pay for the test section, but the commission turned down his request for $500 in county money to aid the project.
Johnson said despite the publicity from the Great Salt Lake Development Authority's stand that diking to create a large lake, commonly called Lake Wasatch, is not feasible, he is moving ahead on a smaller project.
Johnson is proposing to build dikes along the lake's eastern shore around Farmington Bay, which would create what he calls Lake Farmington.
The Bountiful architect asked for a $500 donation from the county to print brochures and posters to illustrate his plan, saying he needs to counter publicity from the development authority's finding and inform the public that the concept is not dead.
Johnson told the commissioners he was never asked to formally present his ideas to the development board, and he believes the Lake Wasatch proposal, which would have used dikes to cordon off the eastern third of the lake, was killed off by special interest groups.
Duck hunters, the lakeside mineral industry, brine shrimp harvesters and proponents of a plan to bring Bear River water to the Wasatch Front are the special interests that worked to defeat his proposal, according to Johnson.
But he is optimistic, Johnson told the commission, that a proposal by Rep. Scott Holt, R-Syracuse, to rebuild the causeway to Antelope Island will pass in the next legislative session.
It lost by a single vote in the last session, he said, and a number of legislators that voted against it then have since switched their position and have promised Holt they will support it in the next session, according to Johnson.
If the causeway is rebuilt, Johnson said, a second diking system from the island's south end to the lake's eastern shore enclosing Farmington Bay will create a smaller version of Lake Wasatch.
Johnson reported that he has $400,000 worth of commitments and promised donations of material and help for his test section from companies interested in the experiment.
But he's still about $30,000 short of cash to get the test section going, he said.
Of the $105,000 in state and county funds appropriated for the test, Johnson said less than $20,000 earmarked for engineering and design remains and the $40,000 designated for construction hasn't been touched.
Under a joint agreement between the county and the state, Davis County appropriated $5,000 for the test section and the state appropriated $100,000. The funds are jointly administered by the county commissioners and the Utah Department of Transportation.