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Utah Lake

Native Utah Lake Fish

New Live June Sucker Exhibit

By Conservation, History, Utah History, Utah Lake, Wild Life

Visit the Utah Lake Exhibit

Monday – Saturday 11:00 am – 9:00 pm
Adult: $5.00 / Child: $4.00

The  Live June Sucker Aquarium Exhibit

Come meet these endemic (of a plant or animal native and restricted to a certain place) fish.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service listed the June sucker as an endangered species in 1986.  After a century of carp introduction,  pollution from human waste, industry, and dumping, these fish simply were not going to survive without human intervention.

June Suckers are a large part of the diet of many of the birds that use Utah Lake shores, Bird Island, and the surrounding fields as a main food source. The declining population of June Suckers directly endangers these birds and their offspring.

Common Name: June Sucker      Scientific Name:Chasmistes liorus

History

(From JuneSuckerRecovery.org)

Over 1000 years ago, Native Fremont people live near the lake and depend on its native fish for food. In 1776, Father Silvestre Velez de Escalante arrives to the valley, meets the local Ute tribe, and is considered to be the first European to see the lake.

When European settlers began arriving in 1847, Native Americans showed them how to catch, dry, and survive on the fish of Utah Lake.  While it saved them from starving, it soon led to overfishing and the depletion of June Suckers in Utah Lake.

 

 

 

 

 

Perry Murdock of the Timpanogas Tribe Teaches Native American Fish Drying Techniques
Daniela Larsen and Jake Benson learn how to dry fish

Utah Lake was home to millions of June Suckers along with 12 other fish species. Of those 13 species, only June sucker and Utah sucker still inhabit the lake, now alongside several non-native species.

Native Utah Lake Fish

Read More on Nature Serve Explorer

NatureServe Explorer is the largest online encyclopedia of biodiversity in North America. Hosted by NatureServe, it is a valuable, cost-free tool made possible through the dedication and hard work of scientists, programmers, nature enthusiasts.

June Sucker Documented distribution
Geneva Steel

What a pouring of steel can tell us about Utah during World War II

By History, Military, Rocks and Minerals, Utah History, Utah Lake

This piece of steel, approximately 3 feet in length, looks hardly significant. It is rough and bubbly and served no unique purpose. Yet this piece of steel has been on display for years at the Hutchings Museum because of the notable story which it tells. This bar of steel was the first poured at Geneva Steel in 1944. Though the steel plant is no longer in operation it holds a significant part in Utah history.

Geneva Steel

Geneva Steel was built to increase the steel production for America during World War II. In 1936, President Franklin D. Roosevelt had proposed opening a steel plant in Utah because of the state’s abundance in iron and other natural resources and because of its inland position where it would have less of a threat of being bombed. The idea was shelved after a couple of months due to the high cost it would take to build and operate the steel plant. In 1941, the threat of war loomed over America. If America were to enter the war, it would need to produce a lot more steel. Plans for the steel plant were approved and construction started in November of 1941, a month before Pearl Harbor and America’s official entry into World War II. Geneva was one of the largest inland government projects during the war. In April of 1944, Geneva shipped its first order which consisted of over 600 tons of steel plate.

The steel plant offered many new jobs to the people of Utah, but because many men were off fighting in the war, some positions considered to be a “man’s job” were filled by women. By the end of the war, more than 25% of the workers at Geneva Steel were women. The government also asked women to volunteer to be lookouts at the top of the Veterans Memorial Building (now the Hutchings Museum) for enemy planes coming to bomb the steel plant. The Memorial building at the time was one of the tallest in Utah Valley and had a direct view of the steel plant. When the war ended some women left their jobs and went back home, but others remained and continued working at the steel plant.

 

 

 

 

To show its appreciation of Geneva Steel and all the workers who served at the steel plant, The government named several Liberty Ships in honor of Utah, including The USS Joseph Smith, USS Brigham Young, USS Provo, and the USS Peter Skene Ogden.

See Geneva Steels’ first pour. On display in the Rock and Mineral Room at the Hutchings Museum.

Geneva Steel Utah Lake Clean Up

Geneva Steel Dumped waste into Utah Lake for years. Learn about the clean-up efforts here.