Great Salt Lake Information System

Skip Navigation LinksGSLIS > Background > Watershed Descriptions

Major Watersheds

<<< Return to Unique Features

The three major watersheds to the east of the GSL (the Bear River, Weber River, and Utah Lake Watersheds) provide the vast majority of water, sediment, and contaminant flux to the Great Salt Lake. They also feature considerable fine-scale spatial variability in precipitation, temperature, snowpack characteristics, and surface fluxes compared to the desert west of the Great Salt Lake. Hence, the major attributes of the Great Salt Lake Basin can be captured with relatively low-density monitoring to the west of the lake and more concentrated hydrologic and atmospheric monitoring to the east.

The following figure shows the annual discharge to the Great Salt Lake from its major contributors. The majority of the surface inflow to the Great Salt Lake comes from the Bear River watershed, followed by the Weber River watershed and the Utah Lake watershed.

Annual discharge to the Great Salt Lake EnlargeClick to enlarge

Source: USGS. 2002. Water-Quality Assessment of the Great Salt Lake Basins, Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming - Environmental Setting and Study Design. U.S. Geological Survey. Water Resources Investigations Report 02-4114. National Water-Quality Assessment Program.

<<< Return to Unique Features