The only animals that live in the lake are tiny brine shrimp, the eggs of which are harvested in quantity. They hatch easily and are fed to prawns in Asia and also were sold as a novelty as "Sea Monkeys."
Many water birds feed on the brine shrimp and insects in the wetlands near the lake. The water level is variable, rising dramatically in wet years but also lowered greatly by reductions in flow into the lake as water is diverted for agricultural and urban uses. There is a problem with pollution of the lake by industrial and urban effluent.
The lake is difficult to approach, being fringed by mud flats, but from time to time a resort called Saltair has operated on the southern shore of the lake. Rising and lowering water levels have affected Saltair, and it has burned twice.
Shallow artificial ponds at the edge of the lake are used to produce salt for commercial sale.