Utah Lake is a shallow freshwater lake in the U.S. state of Utah. It lies in Utah Valley, surrounded by the Provo-Orem metropolitan area. The lake's only river outlet, the Jordan River, is a tributary of the Great Salt Lake. Evaporation accounts for 42% of the outflow of the lake, which leaves the lake slightly saline. The elevation of the lake is legally at 4,489 feet (1,368 m) above sea level. If the lake elevation goes any higher, the pumps and gates on the Jordan River are left open. The first European to see Utah Lake was Father Silvestre Vélez de Escalante in 1776. He stayed with the Timpanogots band of Ute Tribe for three days. The Timpanogots were later moved out or integrated with the Mormon settlers between the 1850s and 1870s. The fish of the lake were overharvested by the settlers and restocked with non-native species. Although thirteen species of fish are native to the lake, only the Utah sucker and the critically endangered June sucker remain. The dominant species in the lake is the common carp, introduced in 1883 as an alternative to the overharvested native fish. The carp is now estimated at 90% of the biomass of the lake and is contributing to a decline in native fish populations by severely altering the ecosystem. Pollution has also caused problems with the lake's ecosystem. Raw sewage was dumped into the lake as late as 1967. Pollution problems still remain; the lake's phosphorus and mineral salt levels are in violation of the Clean Water Act. Utah Lake is managed cooperatively by the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire & State Lands and the Utah Lake Commission. The Division manages public use and issues permits for commercial users of the lakebed and shoreline while the Commission facilitates development. The lakebed and surrounding shoreline is made up of State Sovereign Lands. Utah Lake is one of three lakes in the state that were deemed "navigable" at statehood and granted to the State of Utah. Sovereign lands are managed under the public trust doctrine. The Utah State Legislature has designated the Division of Forestry, Fire & State Lands as the executive authority for the management of sovereign lands, and the state's mineral estates on lands other than school and institutional trust lands. Sovereign lands are defined by the Utah State Legislature as "those lands lying below the ordinary high water mark of navigable bodies of water at the date of statehood and owned by the state by virtue of its sovereignty."The Commission was created by State statute in Utah's 2007 General Legislative Session, House Concurrent Resolution 1, under authority of the Interlocal Cooperation Act. The Commission is funded and empowered by 17 area governments, including; Utah County and its municipalities, the Central Utah Water Conservancy District, and three state agencies. Founded in 2007, the Commission seeks to promote multiple public uses of the lake, facilitate orderly planning and development in and around the lake, and enable individual Commission members to govern their own areas.
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