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Great Salt Lake Advocacy Panel Discussion

Feb 22, 2024 6:30 pm-8:00 pm

In conjunction with the exhibition, As the Lake Fades, join four environmental advocates as they discuss the Great Salt Lake and its past, present, and future importance to the Salt Lake Valley.

Panelists include Laura Briefer, Director of the Salt Lake City Department of Public Utilities; Lynn De Frietas, Executive Director of Friends of Great Salt Lake; Darren Parry, former chairman of Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation and visiting professor in the Environmental Humanities department at the University of Utah; and Jake Serago, a Utah Division of Water Resources hydrologist who works closely with the Lake.

This conversation is part of a series of community talks around environmental issues facing Utahns today. Using the exhibit As the Lake Fades and the Great Salt Lake as a starting point, this series of programs emphasizes the importance of research, data, and community engagement to understand and mitigate human-caused environmental disasters, focusing not only on the problems but on sustainable, equitable, and creative solutions to address them.

About the Panelists

Laura Briefer is the Director of the Salt Lake City Department of Public Utilities. Leading SLCDPU since 2016, Laura’s more than 33 years of natural resource, environmental, and public policy experience has led to her passion for protecting the environment and enhancing the quality of life in Salt Lake City. Her focus on water and climate spans co-authoring papers on climate change’s impact on the central Wasatch Mountain watershed and taking part in local and national boards, including the Utah Governor’s Executive Water Finance Board.

Lynn De Frietas is the Executive Director of Friends of Great Salt Lake. Serving in this role since 2002, Lynn began her involvement with Friends shortly after it was founded in 1994. Lynn enjoys working on developing policies to ensure the long-term sustainability of the Great Salt Lake and has served on the HCR-10 steering committee to develop recommendations to address the Lake’s declining water levels and Governor Herbert’s Water Strategy Advisory Team.

Darren Parry is the former chairman and current councilman for the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation. As a Visiting Professor in the Environmental Humanities department at the University of Utah, his lectures revolve around Indigenous views related to sustainability and the importance of incorporating Indigenous wisdom and culture into climate science and policy. Darren’s other work includes authoring “The Bear River Massacre, A Shoshone History,” and serving on the boards of PBS Utah and Utah Humanities.

Jake Serago is a water resource engineer at the Utah Division of Water Resources with more than ten years of professional hydrologic and hydraulic modeling experience. As his work within the division focuses on the Great Salt Lake, Jake always looks to pair his expertise with citizen involvement to create lasting and adaptable solutions to water resource challenges.