Toxic algae, wildfire smoke and other issues facing Utah in the ‘State of the Environment’

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s Department of Environmental Quality has released its annual report highlighting its successes and challenges.

In the annual “State of the Environment” report, Utah DEQ Executive Director Alan Matheson said they were driven by a mission to provide clean air, water and protect public health.

In an interview with FOX 13 on Wednesday, Matheson said air quality has improved (that same day, Utah’s Air Quality Board approved new rules designed to bring the state into federal regulatory compliance on pollution). However, he said they faced challenges in 2018 with wildfire smoke and toxic algal blooms.

The toxic algae problem is expected to continue into 2019, Matheson said. He planned to seek funding from the Utah State Legislature to address the issue.

“Ongoing funding to address these harmful algal blooms so we have the ability to respond and inform the public so they can make wise decisions about accessing waterways,” he told FOX 13.

In a series of videos, the Utah DEQ highlighted its “State of the Environment.” You can watch them here.