Inland Sea Shorebird Reserve
Rio Tinto Kennecott has transformed acreage once dominated by over-grazed lands, salt evaporation ponds and illegal dumps into a 3,670-acre shorebird and waterfowl reserve along the south shore of Great Salt Lake.
We created the Kennecott Inland Sea Shorebird Reserve (ISSR) under a mitigation plan developed in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to offset the loss of 1,000 acres impacted when the company expanded its tailings impoundment in 1996.
Only two years after opening, the Association of Engineering Geologists designated the ISSR as the Outstanding Environmental and Engineering Geologic Project. The number of bird species using the reserve area has increased from 50 in 1995 to 200 today, with 120,000 birds using the reserve annually, an increase of over 1,000 percent. Because of this incredible success, the reserve has now expanded to over 3,600 acres.
In 2004, the area became an Important Bird Area (IBA) and is now part of BirdLife International’s IBA Program. The purpose of the program is to identify, monitor and protect a global network of IBAs to conserve birds and other biodiversity — birds being one of the most vital indicators of a healthy environment.
The ISSR has become a haven for birds and an important education and scientific resource as Kennecott employees, birding groups, schools and university research teams visit the reserve to observe and study.