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  • Storm clouds build over the Great Salt Lake in Utah on May 16, 2017. One a destination for early pioneers, the lake is now shrinking and transforming as Utah's population booms and the desert climate changes.

  • Wind picks up dust, sand and particulates off the dried up lakebed of the Great Salt Lake and blows it towards the Wasatch Front on Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015. The lake is quickly shrinking and broke new records for low levels in 2016. As the lake dries up, more light sand and minerals are open and exposed to the open air.

  • Runoff trickles across the dried up shoreline and into the north arm of the Great Salt Lake. The north arm is physically separated from the rest of the lake by a railroad causeway. The water in the north arm is twice as salty as the rest of the lake with a salinity of over 25%. Almost no fresh water enters this area and all that can survive in the water are halophile bacteria which give the water a reddish hue.

  • Thousands of phalaropes take off in flight from the Great Salt Lake on Wednesday, August 5, 2015. The small shore birds are among the hundreds of species of birds that live in, or migrate through, the Great Salt Lake ecosystem. Each year, millions of birds rely on the lake for food and nesting grounds.

  • Salt and mineral deposits build up on rocks as the Great Salt Lake dries up. As the lake decreases in size, the water becomes more highly concentrated with minerals.

  • A coyote walks through the shallow waters of the Great Salt Lake about half a mile from the average shore of Antelope Island on Wednesday, August 5, 2015. As the lake levels drop, it becomes easier for predators to reach islands and other areas where birds used to be safely isolated.

  • The Bear River cuts through Bear River City and Box Elder County before dumping into the Great Salt Lake several miles to the south. The Bear River is the largest river emptying into the lake. Utah officials are currently looking at options to dam and divert more water out of the Bear River.

  • A skeleton of a pelican is partially buried on the beach of Gunnison Island on Wednesday, Mar. 8, 2017. The environment on the island is extremely harsh. There is no fresh water on the island, the surrounding water is too salty to support any life beyond bacteria, and extreme temperatures and heavy winds are common.