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PM Brief: Donating wild game, a silver lining in drought stats & new Antelope Island research labs

View northeast across Antelope Island taken from an aircraft.
Wikimedia Creative Commons
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Utah unveiled plans Friday for an expanded visitor’s center on Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake. That story and more in this evening's news brief.

Friday, April 8, 2022

Northern Utah

Expanded research facilities at Antelope Island

Utah unveiled plans Friday for an expanded visitor’s center on Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake. The state Legislature appropriated $13 million which will go to remodeling the current building and creating a science education center. It will include labs and workspace for researchers — as well as a new auditorium for school field trips. Officials called that kind of research and education “vital” given the record low water-levels of the Great Salt Lake. Antelope Island saw a nearly 32% increase in visitors from 2020 to 2021. — Elaine Clark

It’s all whale and good

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

State

Donating wild game

Hunters in Utah can now donate wild game meat to local food banks and other nonprofit organizations. Gov. Spencer Cox recently signed HB 142 making it legal. Before this, game meat could be donated to individuals in need. Hunters have to be licensed, and the meat must come from a healthy animal. It should be field dressed immediately and sent to a custom processor as soon as possible. The new law also sets up a state account where people can donate money to help those who are processing the meat. — Lexi Peery

Some good news in drought stricken stats

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

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

Region/Nation

Avian flu spreading in the Mountain West

The avian flu is spreading across our region, 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 for birds, especially poultry. In the Mountain West, the virus has been detected in backyard flocks in Wyoming and Montana. In Colorado, officials recently found the disease in wild geese. The virus has led to the death of millions of birds. That’s raising concerns about rising poultry and egg prices amid inflation and supply chain issues. Meanwhile, USDA says cooking poultry and eggs thoroughly will keep people safe. — Robyn Vincent, Mountain West News Bureau

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