The Problem

Saline lakes are in decline all around the world because of excessive water use. When a lake like Great Salt Lake collapses, it triggers a sequence of damage to human health, environment, and economy that can last for generations. In our case, the loss of the lake is bringing toxic dust storms, destruction of jobs, and loss of crucial habitat.

The Opportunity

People used to ask “Why should I care about Great Salt Lake?” Now we only hear one question: “What can I do to help?” In a time of fear and isolation, this grand challenge is uniting us. We believe that our community is uniquely prepared to face this crisis. Our prosperity and reputation depend on wise stewardship and solidarity in the face of this human-caused threat.

The Plan

We need an unprecedented flood of public support, policy innovation, personal action, and fundraising to replenish Great Salt Lake. Grow the Flow is focused on supporting ongoing efforts and starting new initiatives that strengthen our water security. We are bringing together individuals, organizations, and government partners to get water to Great Salt Lake. We’re not interested in blaming or claiming credit. We are grateful for all that has been done, and we will work on this until the lake is permanently restored. We are working towards this goal through four coordinated programs:


The Water Policy Accelerator is researching, writing, and sponsoring the legislation that we need at local, state, and federal levels.


The Public Action Network is bringing together a community of 100,000 citizens to change the political dialogue and constructively participate in governance.


The Research Coordination Network is convening scientists, engineers, and technology innovators to translate the best available evidence into the most effective action.


The Philanthropic Council consists of individual donors and sponsoring organizations who make this possible by alleviating financial obstacles to saving the lake.

The Team

Ben Abbott is Grow the Flow’s Executive Director. He teaches Environmental Science and Sustainability at BYU. Ben works on global water security and environmental health.

Rachel Wood is the Scientific Director of Grow the Flow and a Biology professor at BYU who studies human disturbance and resilience in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.

Brigham Daniels is the Policy Director for Grow the Flow. He is an Environmental Law professor at the University of Utah where he focuses on water law.

Terry Tempest Williams is a member of the Grow the Flow advisory council. She is a world-renowned author and lifelong Utahn dedicated to mobilizing love to save our communities and home.

Jake Dreyfous is a government relations coordinator for Grow the Flow. He studied environmental studies and biology at Middlebury College. 

Addison Graham is the Government Relations Coordinator at Grow the Flow. He is a senior at BYU majoring in American Studies and Spanish

Nathan Thompson is the Public Relations Coordinator for Grow the Flow and studies Environmental Science. His focus is on the interactions between humans and the natural world.

Whitney Kingsolver leads fundraising for Grow the Flow. She is a senior at BYU studying Environmental Science and Sustainability and International Development.
Kate Olsen is the lead designer for the team. She is a junior at BYU studying Illustration and Environmental Science. She is passionate about connecting people to the planet through art and education.
Tara Bishop is a Science Research Coordinator for Grow the Flow and a professor at UVU. She studies dryland community and ecosystem ecology. 

Thomas Witney is the University Chapter Coordinator. He is an MS student in statistics who wants to use his strengths for social good. He can be found adventuring with his wife and throwing a yoyo.

Sarah Witney leads the BYU chapter of Grow the Flow. She is an MS Student studying Environmental Science and Sustainability. Her work focuses environmental policy.

Hannah Breinholt is on Grow the Flow’s research team. She studies Biology at BYU and is especially interested in human and invasive disturbances on ecosystems.

Eliza Hammond is a Ballard Scholar and social impact strategist for Grow the Flow. She is a senior in Cell Biology & Physiology with a minor in Global and Community Impact at BYU. 

Ren Griffeth is the Chapter Lead for Salt Lake Community College, where she studies Biology and Biotechnology. She wants to protect the health of humans and other animals through improving environmental quality.

Becca Black is a junior majoring in Wildland Conservation at BYU. She intends to pursue a career in restoration ecology and environmental literature.

Erica Webb is a senior studying Economics and Environmental Science at BYU. She plans to attend law school and is passionate about civic engagement and environmental stewardship.

Valeria Prieto is an Environmental Science & Sustainability student at BYU. She is from Huancayo, Peru and is working on finding ways to improve water security in semiarid ecosystems.

Jeff Davis is a civil and environmental engineer partnering with Grow the Flow. He works at Integral Consulting Inc. on water security issues, particularly groundwater-surface water interactions.

Teri Harman is a writer and nature photographer. Her work focuses on spreading practical truth and emotional connection to our Utah lakes and rivers.

Ella Reid studies Environmental Science at BYU. She helps lead the Provo chapter of Grow the Flow. Ella is passionate about conservation, sustainable agriculture, and environmental policy.

Russ Rader is a scientific advisor for Grow the Flow. He teaches aquatic ecology at BYU and has studied the ecosystems of the Great Basin for nearly 50 years.

Paul Cox is an enthobotanist who has been leading an effort to get Great Salt Lake protected as a National Park

Chip Oscarson is an Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education at BYU and professor of Scandinavian Studies and Interdisciplinary Humanities.

Bob Walz is a professor of communications at BYU and has led the public outreach arm of the program developing a plan to protect Great Salt Lake as a National Park.

Liam Mountain La Malfa is a high school senior at the Salt Lake Center for Science Education and founder of the Youth Coalition for Great Salt Lake. He, like many youth, believes that Great Salt Lake will determine the future of quality of life in Utah. 

Izzy Khachtrayn is the High School Chapter coordinator for Grow the Flow. She is also a student at Skyline High School and a member of the Youth Coalition for Great Salt Lake. Her focus is on empowering youth to have a seat at the table and be involved in the conservation of Great Salt Lake.

Pete Larkin is a board member of the Silicon Slopes Prosperity Council, one of Grow the Flow’s partners

Erik Stromness is a board member of the Silicon Slopes Prosperity Council, one of Grow the Flow’s partners

Philip Case is a board member of the Silicon Slopes Prosperity Council, one of Grow the Flow’s partners

Jason Angle is a board member of the Silicon Slopes Prosperity Council, one of Grow the Flow’s partners

Eliza Peterson is a project lead working on urban-rural solidarity, innovative engagement, and grassroots leadership. She is currently pursuing a Masters’ degree in social innovation.


Origins Of Grow The Flow

Grow the Flow is an initiative of Conserve Utah Valley, a 501(c)(3) organization focused on conserving land and water, forever. Over the past few years, Conserve Utah Valley has successfully helped protect Bridal Veil Falls, the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, Slate Canyon, and Utah Lake. Conserve Utah Valley is now partnering with BYU’s Ballard Center for Social Impact to help our community face the challenge of a drying Great Salt Lake.