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Pink water washes over a Great Salt Lake salt crust in May. Photo: Rick Bowmer/AP

Utah's Great Salt Lake is in trouble, with serious ramifications for one of America's fastest-growing areas.

Why it matters: It's the largest natural lake west of the Mississippi River and has been shrinking for years, with the mega-drought making it even worse, reports AP's Lindsay Whitehurst.

  • The lake’s levels are expected to hit a 170-year low this year.
  • Wildlife is suffering from the decline, especially birds and shrimp.
Visitors stand in the shallow waters in June. Photo: Rick Bowmer/AP

The waves have been replaced by dry, gravelly lakebed that’s grown to 750 square miles. Winds can whip up dust from the dry lakebed that is laced with naturally occurring arsenic.

Tourism is also at risk: The dust from the lakebed could speed up snowmelt at Utah's popular ski resorts.

  • And once-popular lakeside resorts are now long shuttered.
People swim at Saltair in 1933. The resort once drew sunbathers who would float like corks in the Great Salt Lake's extra salty waters. Photo: Salt Lake Tribune via AP

The bottom line: To maintain lake levels, diverting water from rivers that flow into it would have to decrease by 30%.

  • But for the state with the nation’s fastest-growing population, addressing the problem will require a major shift in how water is allocated.

Go deeper

California's Caldor Fire nears South Lake Tahoe: What you need to know

Flames consume multiple homes as the Caldor fire pushes into the Echo Summit area, California on Monday. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

California firefighters worked into the night to try and stop the growing Caldor Fire from reaching the resort city of South Lake Tahoe, as evacuation orders were expanded to border communities in Nevada.

The latest: The wildfire had grown to more than 199,600 acres and was 18% contained, as it threatened almost 34,000 homes and other structures in the area, per the Sacramento Bee.

Inflation threatens Latinos' buying power

Expand chart
Data: Hispanic Index of Consumer Sentiment; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Latinos in the U.S. are less optimistic about the economy than they were a year ago as inflation threatens to cut into their buying power.

Why it matters: Latinos have been economic growth drivers for the past decade, opening new businesses at faster rates than other groups and increasing their homeownership rates. The group's overall output would make them the seventh-largest GDP in the world if they were a country.

53 mins ago - Politics & Policy

First look: Frontline Dems seek cover with bipartisan police bill

Rep. Josh Gottheimer. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Moderate Frontline Democrats facing tough reelection fights are teaming up with House Republicans on a bill that would effectively help fund the police, according to a copy of the bill text obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: One of Republicans' core and most effective campaign attacks to date is their messaging around progressive rhetoric to "defund the police." Moderate Democrats have long tried to dodge that narrative, acknowledging its political peril despite their support for broader police reform.