Loading…
This event has ended. Create your own event on Sched.

Thank you to everyone who attended the 11th Annual Salt Lake County Watershed Symposium! This free two-day conference encourages a comprehensive review of the current state of our watershed while creating learning opportunities for a diverse array of stakeholders. Sessions covered a broad range of topics on water quality and watershed issues with local, regional, and national relevance. Hosted by Salt Lake County Watershed Planning & Restoration.

Take the Symposium Survey
Photo Gallery


"The Symposium is tremendously important to the future of all of Utah. You guys are educating stakeholders across Northern Utah in an objective, user-friendly way about issues, problems and concerns that are not being discussed publicly anywhere else."  -Zach Frankel, Utah Rivers Council


View analytic

Log in to bookmark your favorites and sync them to your phone or calendar.

Wednesday, November 15
 

8:00am

Registration & Check-in
Check-in, grab your badge, and meet other attendees before we kick off the Symposium!

8:30am

Welcome & Opening Comments
Speakers
avatar for Rick Graham

Rick Graham

Deputy Mayor & Chief Operations Officer, Salt Lake County
Rick Graham is Salt Lake County's Deputy Mayor & Chief Operations Officer. Rick first joined McAdams' team in April 2016 as Township & Metro Services Executive. Rick has a nearly 40 years of public service experience, including his previous position as Salt Lake City's Director of Public Services for 19... Read More →


8:40am

KEYNOTE Unveiling the Anthropocene—A Super Wicked Story
KEYNOTE Unveiling the Anthropocene—A Super Wicked Story

Humanity’s disruption of the planetary climate system represents an existential threat to an organized global community. This is the robust conclusion of an extraordinarily large scientific community, based on an observational dataset of unprecedented scale. And yet, global climate disruption is but one of a host of existential environmental challenges we face, all emergent from the same underlying pathologies. At this juncture, with an unprecedented opportunity to begin the transformation to a truly sustainable human civilization, it is critical that we address our challenges holistically, each in context of all the others. Fortunately, solid frameworks are emerging for doing exactly this.

Speakers
avatar for Robert Davies

Robert Davies

Physicist, Utah State University
Dr. Robert Davies is Associate Professor of Professional Practice with Utah State University’s Dep’t of Physics. Focusing on synthesizing and communicating a broad range of Earth- and human systems science through a lens of human sustainability, Rob has been communicating cli... Read More →



9:10am

Creating Water Strategy Using High-Altitude Idea Collisions
Creating Water Strategy Using High-Altitude Idea Collisions

Summary:
In 2013, Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert launched a water strategy initiative that became a three-phase, four-year process and ended in an exemplary synthesis of ideas and ideologies. The presentation describes lessons learned by the team in managing the “human factor” among the high deserts, political polarity, and powdery peaks of Utah.

Full Abstract:
Creating Water Strategy Using High-Altitude Idea Collisions In 2013, Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert launched a water strategy initiative that became a three-phase, four-year process and ended in an exemplary synthesis of ideas and ideologies. The process culminated in a series of reports, with a 201-page final report and its 93 recommendations delivered to Gov. Herbert by the diverse 41-member advisory team in July, 2017.

The three phases produced distinct deliverables consisting of:
  • In Phase 1, extensive public comments and written reports on six key topics. 
  • In Phase 2, participation in the Envision Utah Your Utah, Your Future statewide visioning project. The project produced two public values surveys that ranked water as the most significant issue affecting Utah’s future. 
  • In Phase 3, a 201-page final report from a diverse 41-member advisory team that included 93 recommendations organized around eleven key policy questions. 
The key policy questions addressed are listed below (quoted verbatim from the report):
1. What is the role of water conservation and efficiency in Utah?
2. How will diverted water supplies be developed to meet competing and ever increasing demands?
3. How does Utah provide water for agricultural lands and food production in the face of competing water demands?
4. What should we do to preserve natural systems in the face of increasing water demands?
5. How do we protect and sustain the quality of Utah’s water?
6. How will Utah plan for, adequately fund, and use innovative solutions to maintain, replace, and redesign existing water infrastructure and build new water infrastructure over the next 40-50 years?
7. In what ways will weather and a changing climate impact future water supply and demand?
8. How do we optimize our water resources to sustain the economy and quality of life for Utah residents?
9. What is the framework for Utah water law and policy, and how will stakeholders modernize it?
10. What is the role of policymakers, both elected and appointed, at all levels of government?
11. What roles will science, technology, and innovation play in addressing Utah's future water needs?

The team included a broad range of stakeholder interests and viewpoints, yet the team members reached agreement on the report. As stated in the report, the advisory team recommendations represent not only a collaborative and balanced look at the key water issues facing Utah, but also an outreach and education effort to Governor Herbert and other “elected officials and policymakers, water planners, state and federal agencies, nongovernmental organizations, water user groups, and the public at large.” The presentation describes interplay among the stakeholders in developing a consensus report, key findings, the team decisions to emphasize climate change adaptation rather than causation, and to emphasize conservation, and the prospects for implementation of significant recommendations. It also includes lessons learned by the team in managing the “human factor” among the high deserts, political polarity, and powdery peaks of Utah.

Speakers
avatar for Ari Bruening

Ari Bruening

Chief Operating Officer, Envision Utah
Ari Bruening has extensive experience in visioning and implementation efforts for regions and large-scale projects. Prior to joining Envision Utah, he helped manage visioning and entitlement projects for the San Diego region; Laie, Hawaii; the 93,000-acre Kennecott Land Company project in Salt Lake County; the 175,000-acre Superstition Vistas Arizona state trust land parcel; and the 300,000-acre Deseret Ranches of Florida landholding near the Orlando International Airport. He represented Kennecott Land Company in the land use planning and approval effort for over 90,000 acres on Salt Lake's West Bench, including the 4,000-acre Daybreak community that has received widespread acclaim. Ari, an AICP certified planner, graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he was an editor for the Harvard Law Review. He is the author of "The TDR Siren Song: The Problems with Transferable Development Rights Programs and How to Fix Them," 23 Journal of Land Use... Read More →



9:10am

Year in Review: Comparing Harmful Algal Blooms from this Year to Last
Year in Review: Comparing Harmful Algal Blooms from this Year to Last

Following an unprecedented year of harmful algal blooms (HABs), 2017, it was hoped, would provide a relief from these events. For some waterbodies, conditions had improved compared to 2016, but for others, conditions may have deteriorated. This discussion will compare 2017 HABs to last year-- exploring differences in diversity and concentration of cyanobacteria and their cyanotoxins. Additionally, it will cover the latest techniques adopted by UDWQ for tracking these events and the latest coordination processes implemented this year.

Speakers
avatar for Ben Holcomb

Ben Holcomb

Coordinator of Biological Assessment and Harmful Algal Bloom Programs, Utah Division of Water Quality
Ben Holcomb is the UT Division of Water Quality Coordinator for the Biological Assessment and Harmful Algal Bloom Programs. He's worked at UT DWQ for nine years and his past work includes salmon restoration, water quality, and tribal sovereignty in the Pacific NW.



9:50am

Deciphering Cyano-blooms Using Molecular Approaches in Utah Lake
Deciphering Cyano-blooms Using Molecular Approaches in Utah Lake

Summary:
This abstract will present findings on our continuous monitoring of Utah Lake and tracking the diversity of Cyano Blooms with the help from Utah Division of Water Quality. .

Full Abstract:
Although there are several environmental problems associated with HABs, the presence of CyanoHABs is of particular importance because certain species of cyanoHABs produce cynotoxins which have direct health related negative implications. CyanoHABs cause serious environmental and economic losses. Shallow, eutrophic Utah Lake encountered an extreme algal bloom event in the summer of 2016. As for the summer of 2017, an algal bloom event was identified in one location at the lake, Provo Bay. Conventionally, microscopic identification is used as the main method for phytoplankton identification. However, microscopic counting methods are time-consuming and results given are in low resolution and can overlook smaller cyanobacteria. For example, light microscope techniques usually exclude the study of picocyanbacteria because of the lack of its morphological knowledge (Ouellette et al., 2005) and the small size of picocyanobateria (0.2 to 2.0 μm) (Jakubowska and Szeląg-Wasielewska, 2015). Morover, microscopic methods may not be able to differentiate between toxin-producing and non-toxin producing strains. For example, different strains of Microcystis aeruginosa can be morphologically identical but differ in toxigenicity (Otsuka et al., 1999). To overcome these problems, we have applied molecular methods for cyanobacterial speciation by sequencing all the bacterial DNA from water and sediment samples as well as targeting dominant species in Utah Lake by quantitive PCR. To establish the presence with their functionality, we have been also extracting mRNA and tracking gene expressions. Five sites were monitored in 2016 and cyanobacterial communities were genetically identified via high throughput amplicon sequencing. Similarly, seven sites were monitored in summer 2017. Sediments were collected in August of 2016 and August of 2017. Our findings for summer of 2016 show that temperature and chlorophyll a increased throughout. Nutrients and pH were the highest during the bloom. As for cyanobacteria identification via high throughput amplicon sequencing, Aphanizomenon flos-aquae and Synechocuccos sp (picocyanobacteria) dominated the water column. As for sediment cyanobacteria identification, Aphanizomenon flos-aquae dominated. Furthermore, sediments were dominated by Ca-bound phosphorus and sediment mineralogy contained around 70% calcite. As for summer of 2017 findings, pH, temperature and chlorophyll a increased significantly from early May to mid July. In Provo Bay where algal blooms appeared in 2017, nitrate was significantly reduced while the phosphate was high. Blooms faded towards the end of summer in Provo Bay. In addition, DNA was extracted for each site in 2017 for sequencing and cyanobacterial speciation analysis. Dominant gene expressions are detected by extracting mRNA. By analyzing our collected biological and chemcical data from both summers, we can get a better understanding of algal and cyanobacteria bloom occurences at Utah Lake and capable of determining ecosystem tipping point. Audience will be able to learn; (1) What is CyanoHABs and why they form, (2) what environmental factors trigger their formation, (3) what is the ecological diversity with seasonal changes and (4) how citizens can be involved in ongoing efforts to address water quality problems in Utah.

Speakers
RG

Ramesh Goel

Professor, University of Utah
Dr. Ramesh Goel a Professor of Environmental engineering in Civil & Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Utah. He is also serving as the Graduate Director in the department.



9:50am

The Great Water Decoupling, the Bear River and the Salt Lake Valley
The Great Water Decoupling, the Bear River and the Salt Lake Valley

Summary:
Although some believe the Wasatch Front is need more water for growth, booming cities outside Utah have seen water demand drop through a mix of good planning, clever storytelling and market economics. Come learn how this Great Decoupling has been achieved and what must happen for it to occur in Salt Lake County and the Wasatch Front.

Full Abstract:
For decades, water leaders across the American West have been warning the public about the coming water shortage due to population growth occurring in an arid land. Media stories have showered our culture in a cloud of doom about the coming water crisis owed to our love of urban growth and its impacts upon our environment. Conservationists have drawn a line in the sand trying to save the last of our aquatic landscapes, turning water planning dialogues into ethical lessons about climate change and species extinction. But a funny thing happened on the way to the debate: The Great Decoupling. In contrast to what the Population Bomb taught us, municipal water use has decreased in the face of rapid population growth. This Decoupling between population growth and municipal water demand can be seen again and again over the last 20 years outside Utah, where communities are reaping the rewards from decisions made by a new generation of water planners. Urban centers like Las Vegas, Phoenix and Los Angeles decreased their total water demand, even while their population has greatly increased over several decades. Contrary to past dire warnings about running out of municipal water, a new generation of water leaders has managed to implement sustainable water policies originating out of a combination of economics, grassroots education and cutting edge marketing. Much is at stake for the Salt Lake Valley, as some water leaders claim that multi-billion Bear River Development is essential to the future of suburban residents, less our municipal population runs out of this precious liquid we all love. But critics worry about the project’s many impacts since the Bear River is the single largest source of surface water to the Great Salt Lake. Many fear proposed Bear River Development will lower the elevation of the Lake dramatically, impacting the hundreds of migratory bird species which rely upon the Lake’s shoreline wetlands in their travels across the Western Hemisphere. Health advocates worry about air quality impacts from the project by virtue of increasing lakebed airborne dust levels during windstorms. Will Utah experience the Great Decoupling and avoid these impacts? In this workshop, we explore how large urban centers managed to grow their populations while either decreasing or keeping their total water demand level. These communities reduced water use by changing their perspective on how they communicate water stories, how they value water and how they market water to their constituents. Participants will come away with bold new perspectives on water in Utah, why it matters how we value water, how we communicate water decisions and identify opportunities to apply this perspective to Utah water dialogues differently.

Speakers
ZF

Zach Frankel

Executive Director, Utah Rivers Council
Zach Frankel is the founder and Executive Director of the Utah Rivers Council. Zach started the organization in 1995 after he received his B.S. in Biology at the University of Utah. Zach has been working on water education and conservation across the American West for over 25 yea... Read More →
DM

Dan McCool

Professor Emeritus, Political Science Department, University of Utah
Dan McCool is the former director of Environmental & Sustainability Studies at the University of Utah. Dan has written and been interviewed widely on environmental issues, particularly related to water in the west. He holds a Ph.D.in Political Science from the University of Arizo... Read More →



10:20am

10:40am

Urban Stormwater Impacts on the Jordan River: Who Could Have Guessed?
Urban Stormwater Impacts on the Jordan River: Who Could Have Guessed?

Summary:
Stormwater impacts have been shown to be significant and should be mitigated to increase DO and improve overall water quality in the Lower Jordan River.

Full Abstract:
In 2012 the Utah Department of Environmental Quality completed a total maximum daily load study on the Jordan River that concluded dissolved oxygen levels throughout the Lower Jordan are often below those necessary for the established beneficial use due to various sources of course particulate organic matter. A study by Richardson in 2014 evaluated the leaching of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) from coarse particulate matter entering storm drains during runoff events. His study found that the DOC generated from terrestrial grass and leaf debris in stormwater was readily biodegradable with a high long-term biochemical oxygen demand (BOD). To determine the extent that stormwater is responsible for the low DO in the Lower Jordan River, continuous data collected by an iUTAH aquatic monitoring station at the storm drain outlet at 1300 South were paired with lab results to quantify pollutant loads during both dry periods and storm events. Parameters available for continuous monitoring included fluorescent dissolved organic matter (fDOM) and specific conductivity, both of which dramatically spike during storm events. An Isco autosampler was installed at the site and programmed to begin sampling when certain thresholds of these parameters were met. These grab samples were brought back to the lab are analyzed for BOD, DOC, metals, phosphorous and nitrogen - all parameters that cannot be continuously measured with the installed probes. The goal was to then connect these values, particularly BOD and DOC, to the continuous parameters, particularly fDOM, available at the aquatic monitoring site, to determine correlations between continuous monitoring and lab generated data. These correlations were then used to estimate the fluctuations of BOD and DOC using continuous fDOM measurements in both the stormwater discharge and in the Lower Jordan River measured upstream from 1300 South. This presentation will highlight the fDOM/DOC/BOD relationships established for the 1300 South stormwater discharge and upstream in the Jordan River, will present the significant impact of the stormwater discharge to the Jordan during rainfall events, and will explore various green infrastructure approaches that could be implemented in the watershed to mitigate this impact over time.

Speakers
avatar for R. Ryan Dupont

R. Ryan Dupont

Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Utah State University
Dr. Dupont has more than 35 years of experience teaching and conducting applied and basic research in environmental engineering at the Utah Water Research Laboratory at Utah State University. He received a BS degree in Civil Engineering, and MS and PhD degrees in Environmental He... Read More →



10:40am

Utah's Warming Climate and it's Increasing Flash Flood Threat
Utah's Warming Climate and it's Increasing Flash Flood Threat

Summary:
As Utah's climate continues to warm the threat of flash flooding looms large across much of southern Utah. A warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture, and as such, spawn more intense thunderstorms and heavy rainfall events. While rainfall rates and flash flood events are increasing, so is the amount of people exploring the desert southwest.

Full Abstract:
As Utah's climate continues to warm the threat of flash flooding looms large across much of southern Utah. A warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture, and as such, spawn more intense thunderstorms and heavy rainfall events. While rainfall rates and flash flood events are increasing, so is the amount of people exploring the desert southwest. The combination of these two events bring an increased risk to the area. Brian will look at forecasted temperature increases to 2100 AD, and research showing how increased rainfall rates are increasing throughout the US and in particular, southern Utah. He will go over the physics of storm formation and how flash flood events are spawned.

Link to Powerpoint (with videos)

Speakers
BM

Brian McInerney

Hydrologist, National Weather Service
Brian is the Senior Hydrologist at the National Weather Service's Forecast Office in Salt Lake City, Utah. He has a Masters of Science in Forest Hydrology, from the University of Montana, Missoula MT., and an undergraduate degree from St. Mary's University in Winona, Minnesota. H... Read More →



11:20am

Estimation of Future Sediment Load in the Jordan River
Estimation of Future Sediment Load in the Jordan River

Summary:
Climate change and urbanization will modify hydrological processes in mountainous watersheds. Associated increases in erosion and acceleration of sediment transport will have direct impacts on water treatment processes, reservoir management, and the life cycle of aquatic species.

Full Abstract:
Sediment load from a watershed impacts soil carbon dynamics, life of the aquatic systems, water treatment processes, and reservoir planning and management. Multiple factors including climate, local biophysical environment, topography, land use, and land management practice have direct and indirect effects on the sedimentation-loading rate. This study investigates how erosion and acceleration of sediment transport in a mountainous watershed respond to land use change and increased peak streamflow due to a higher intensity of precipitation and escalated snowmelt. Results are presented for future land use change and climate change in the Jordan River watershed, including projected changes in sediment loads in the Jordan River for the decades centered on 2040 and 2090. The Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) regional climate model was used to dynamically downscale future climate variables to 4-km horizontal resolution at hourly intervals under the Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 6.0 greenhouse gas emission scenario for 2090s, and additional climate forcing scenarios were obtained from statistical downscaling. Future land use was modeled using a spatial interaction model (business-as-usual growth) and a “regional vision” normative growth scenario with broad stakeholder currency (compact-growth). The runoff and water quality impact of the climate and land-use change scenarios were simulated using the HSPF model (Hydrological Simulation Program-FORTRAN). The results suggest that future precipitation in the watershed will increase ~20-30%, temperature will increase 1.5-6.0⁰C (depending on emission scenario), and snowfall and snowpack will decline by 25 to 50%. Impervious areas will grow by 19% and 3% in the business-as-usual and compact growth scenarios, respectively. The preliminary model results show that future annual sediment load will increase ~25-30% by 2040s and ~35% by 2090s. The results suggest that climate change will be the dominant driver, responsible for increasing sediment load by ~20-25% over the 2000 baseline; land use change is less significant, accounting for a ~5% increase. The presentation will also cover the estimated sediment loads considering multiple future changes scenarios (i.e. land use change alone, climate change alone, etc.). The learning objectives from this presentations will be to: (i) understand sedimentation building and wash off processes in a watershed, (ii) become informed on changes in future climate modeling and land use in Jordan basin, particularly with the HSPF model, and (iii) understand the impact of climate change and land use change on hydrological process and resulting indirect impact on the sedimentation processes in Jordan River. Keywords: climate change, land use change, hydrological modeling, sediment load, water quality

Speakers
KK

Krishna Khatri

Engineer/ Research Asst. Professor, Utah Division of Water Resources
Krishna holds a PhD degree in Water Resources Engineering, MSc in the areas of Water Resources Engineering, BE (Civil), and MPA in development planning. His research interest and expertise are in the areas of hydrological and water systems modeling; water policy analysis; climate... Read More →



11:20am

Partnering to Build Effective Drought Early Warning Systems
Partnering to Build Effective Drought Early Warning Systems

Summary:
This presentation focuses on support provided to Utah and to the nation by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Integrated Drought Information System and the Western Water Assessment for more effective drought mitigation and drought response planning.

Full Abstract:
Drought is a significant threat to the economy, to municipal and industrial water supplies, and to social and environmental resilience. In the West, increasing population threatens limited and variable water resources and will push drought to the forefront of water issues. The cyclical nature of drought guarantees that Utah will experience drought in the future, so a pro-active risk reduction approach to drought is a critical priority. This presentation focuses on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS), which was created in 2006 by public law to catalyze drought research and systematic planning for more effective drought mitigation and response. NIDIS is mandated to provide drought early warning systems (DEWS) that support decision-makers, the private sector, and communities to establish and strengthen a pro-active, coordinated approach to prepare for and reduce risks of future droughts. DEWS build on and leverage existing local, state, academic, regional, and national partnerships and networks. A key NIDIS partner is NOAA’s Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISA), a network that includes Western Water Assessment (WWA), which provides climate information, analyses and original research to support decision-makers in the Intermountain West. In this presentation, Elizabeth Weight (NOAA/NIDIS) and Seth Arens (WWA) will share information on NIDIS, DEWS, and WWA research that supports drought preparedness in Utah.

Speakers
SA

Seth Arens

Utah Research Integration Specialist, Western Water Assessment
Seth Arens has served as the Utah Research Integration Specialist for Western Water Assessment since 2015. He has a diverse background in science, including research experience in ecosystem and plant physiological ecology, snow hydrology and atmospheric science. From 2010 to 2015... Read More →
EW

Elizabeth Weight

Regional Drought Information Coordinator, National Integrated Drought Information System, NOAA
Elizabeth Weight is the Regional Drought Information Coordinator for the Intermountain West and Southern Plains Drought Early Warning Systems of NOAA's National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS). Prior to joining NIDIS, Elizabeth worked with research institutes and no... Read More →



11:50am

12:50pm

Poster Session
The poster session is a forum for presenters from around the world to highlight programs and to share successful ideas with colleagues by presenting a research study, a practical problem-solving effort, an innovative program, and more. Poster presentations provide other conference participants an opportunity to quickly and easily become acquainted with a variety of topics.

Check the POSTERS tab to see all poster presenters!


1:40pm

Using Living Buildings to Achieve A Sustainable Water Future
Using Living Buildings to Achieve A Sustainable Water Future

Summary:
The world’s most rigorous standard for green buildings, Living Buildings don't just take less from the environment, they are regenerative and give back. This group presentation will discuss how Living Buildings can support local strategies for lasting sustainability, foster partnerships and achieve relevant solutions from a watershed perspective.

Full Abstract:
While much of Utah has recognized the value of green buildings, a cadre of groups seeks to challenge the boundaries of what it means to build green and how green infrastructure can help us achieve a sustainable water future in Salt Lake County. The Living Building Challenge (LBC), administered by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI), is the world’s most rigorous standard for green buildings. Rather than striving to take less from the environment, Living Buildings are regenerative and give back to the environment. Being net-positive energy, collecting and treating all water on site, and eliminating toxic chemicals in building materials - providing a healthy environment for its occupants - are highlights within the certification program. As population growth and construction continue to increase in Salt Lake County, it is crucial for new and existing buildings to adopt regenerative building practices to ensure our limited natural resources can meet future needs. Living Buildings are an important step for creating a society that uses our precious energy and water supplies sustainably and the Living Building Challenge helps promote responsible growth in our communities while reducing the impact we have on our amazing rivers and other fresh water resources. This group presentation will discuss how Living Buildings can support local strategies for lasting sustainability, foster partnerships and achieve relevant solutions from a watershed perspective. This session will strive to be dynamic and interactive and will be offered by Utah’s local ILFI chapter, Great Basin Collaborative, comprised of a mix of businesses, non-profit groups and agencies including Architectural Nexus, Utah Clean Energy, and Utah Rivers Council.

Speakers
KK

Kenner Kingston

President, Architectual Nexus
Kenner was an early adopter of the USGBC’s LEED rating system and served as Nexus’ first Director of Sustainability. In addition to being the only Living Future Accredited Professional in the Great Basin, Kenner volunteers his time as an Ambassador Presenter for the Internati... Read More →
NS

Nick Schou

Conservation Director, Utah Rivers Council, Great Basin Collaborative
Nick Schou has a M.S. in Environmental Humanities from the University of Utah, a B.A. in History from Westminster College and spent 5 years working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in remote river canyons to restore endangered native fish species of the Colorado River. Nick... Read More →



1:40pm

What’s Your Watershed Address? The Power (and Fun!) of School Outreach
What’s Your Watershed Address? The Power (and Fun!) of School Outreach

Tracy Aviary inspires curiosity and caring for birds and nature through education and conservation not only on our grounds, but in schools throughout Salt Lake County! Through our suite of watershed-focused school outreach programs, we utilize hands-on and inquiry-based activities to build student interest in their local watershed. In this presentation, Tracy Aviary educators will outline the benefits and challenges of school outreach, demonstrate a portion of our most popular watershed-focused outreach program, and help participants brainstorm ways they can also reach out to schools in our community.

Link to Powerpoint (with videos)

Speakers
MA

Marina Astin

Educator, Tracy Aviary
Marina is an educator at Tracy Aviary. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a B.S. in Biology and a minor in Environmental Science. As an intern at Tracy Aviary she was introduced to environmental education. Marina especially loves working with Tracy Aviary’s Nature... Read More →
KJ

Kylie Jones-Greenwood

Educator, Tracy Aviary
Kylie Jones-Greenwood is an educator at Tracy Aviary. She holds a B.A. in Theatre Arts from the College of Idaho, and is currently working toward a B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences from Oregon State University. Prior to joining Tracy Aviary's education team, she taught thi... Read More →



2:20pm

Creating a Native Prairie Landscape within a Concrete Jungle
Creating a Native Prairie Landscape within a Concrete Jungle

Summary:
A traditional regional stormwater facility has been revitalized to a more natural landscape featuring a meandering stream, native vegetation, and a trail system. This presentation will highlight key design and stormwater management aspects.

Full:
In 2008, the City of Fargo, ND Park District constructed a regional stormwater pond treatment system to treat urban runoff from neighboring developing areas. Over time, the detention basins have degraded leading the Park District to work on revitalizing the area. Construction has begun on a revitalization design that converts the stormwater ponds into a native prairie and meandering stream landscape. In addition to providing stormwater management and ecological restoration, the site provides a unique opportunity for education and recreation. The old detention basins will be converted to four smaller ponds connected by the meandering stream. A recirculation lift station within the pond-channel system will provide a baseflow during dry periods. Native vegetation, pedestrian trials, and bridges will be integrated within the original pond footprint. The overall system will still be able to operate as a pond during large rain events. These updates allow for a greater mix of native plant species improving local biodiversity. Our presentation will focus on the key stormwater design aspects and discuss similarities to the numerous urban parks throughout Salt Lake County’s riparian areas.

Speakers
ZM

Zach Magdol

Water Resources Engineer, AE2S
Zach earned a Master's from the U where he research Red Butte Creek. Currently, Zach works as a water resources engineer for a civil engineering consulting firm. His projects include stormwater management and design and floodplain analysis.



2:20pm

Evidence of groundwater connectivity in the Jordan River, Utah, USA
Evidence of groundwater connectivity in the Jordan River, Utah, USA

Summary:
We explored whether groundwater connectivity is evident in the Jordan River, where wastewater effluent represents ~ 25-40% of total flow. Concentrations of unreactive anions and cations, dissolved inorganic carbon, and isotopic signatures of water suggest that groundwater inputs continue to play an important role in riverine water quality.

Full Abstract:
Arid and semi-arid regions face increasing challenges for provisioning water for human consumption and ecosystem services under a changing climate and population growth. The role of urban water diversions and inputs on water quality in rivers remains poorly understood in many cities. We explored whether historic surface and groundwater connectivity is still evident in the water quality of the Jordan River, where wastewater effluent represents ~ 25-40% of total flow. The Jordan River is an 83 km, 4th order river that traverses the Salt Lake Valley in the state of Utah, USA. The river drains seven montane tributaries and connects Utah Lake to wetlands of the Great Salt Lake. Area urban water systems include four facilities collecting drinking water from the montane tributaries and four facilities treating wastewater (WRFs), which discharge effluent into the Jordan River. A major drainage canal diverts river water to prevent flooding of densely populated areas. The high degree of connectivity between natural and human systems in this area contributes to large spatial and temporal variation in water discharge, temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, major ions, and isotopic signatures of water and dissolved inorganic carbon. Synoptic surveys of the river conducted over three seasons during one year show that variation in discharge (0.9-17.9 m3/s) and temperature (12.4-27.2 °C) were associated with snowmelt runoff, river regulation, and effluent inputs. Dissolved oxygen ranged from 2-21 mg/L, with a consistent decline in values each season from 10 mg/L to 2 mg/L below the surplus canal diversion. Values of pH ranged from 7.0-8.8, with circumneutral values found in WRF effluent and the oil drain downstream of the most northern WRF studied. We observed variation in concentrations of unreactive anions and cations (e.g., 42.3-111.3 mg/L calcium and 8.8-87.5 mg/L magnesium), concentration of dissolved inorganic carbon (25.1-97.7 mg/L), and isotopic signatures of δ13C (-4.9 to -11.9), δ2H (-45.6 to -115.9), and δ18O (-2.6 to -15.2, suggesting that seasonal shifts in the proportion of snowmelt vs. groundwater inputs or in-stream processes continue to play an important role in determining the water quality of the river. That groundwater continues to influence water quality in this urbanized river despite the highly engineered context is notable, especially since groundwater has been estimated to be a small fraction of total inputs. Taken together, our results suggest that effluent-dominated rivers can be strongly influenced by human modifications to surface water but also still be connected to the regional hydrologic basin via groundwater exchange. This implies that resource managers may need to account for the quality and quantity of not only surface waters but also historically overlooked groundwater inputs, in order to address water quality concerns and pollution exceedances in urban rivers.

Speakers
RG

Rachel Gabor

Assistant Professor, Ohio State University
Dr. Rachel Gabor is a biogeochemist who studies the dynamics of dissolved organic matter in streams and rivers. She is an Assistant Professor at Ohio State University.
avatar for Yusuf Jameel

Yusuf Jameel

PhD Candidate, University of Utah
Yusuf Jameel is a PhD candidate working with Dr. Gabe Bowen, studying urban and natural waterways at the department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Utah. He has been analyzing the connections between human population, climate, water extraction, water use, and water use i... Read More →
avatar for Jennifer Follstad Shah

Jennifer Follstad Shah

Assistant Professor, Environmental & Sustainability Studies, University of Utah
Dr. Jennifer Follstad Shah an ecosystem ecologist whose research examines how global changes (climate change, urbanization, altered flow regimes, and non-native species invasions) affect microbial community dynamics and ecosystem processes, such as nutrient cycling and decomposit... Read More →
RS

Rose Smith

Research Assistant Professor, University of Utah
I am an ecosystem ecologist, and my research interests include the ways in which human activities and climate change influences ecological function of river corridors. Much of my work focuses on the interaction of urban infrastructure and freshwater ecosystems, specifically focus... Read More →



2:50pm

Break, snacks and prize drawing!
Look for the "big ticket" signs for places to get raffle tickets!  Visit exhibitor tables, snap a pic at the photo wall, and more. Another way to win prizes?  Nominate your choice for Watershed Steward of the Year and you'll be entered into the drawings!


3:20pm

Tracking Urban Water Flow Using Stable Isotopes of Water
Tracking Urban Water Flow Using Stable Isotopes of Water

Summary:
With increasing population and water demands, water managers are utilizing local, non-local and recycled water to supply urban water systems. Using water isotopes, here we present a novel way of tracking different water sources in an urban system, which is extremely important in context of water rights and contamination issues.

Full Abstract:
Stable isotopes of water have extensively been used to understand hydrological cycle in natural environment, however their application in highly managed urban water systems have been limited. Recent research has shown that water isotopes reflect urban water management practices and have potential application in understanding urban water supply network dynamics, evaluating effect of climate variability on water resources, geolocation and water monitoring and regulation. Previous work has highlighted strong and structured spatiotemporal variation in tap water isotope ratios of Salt Lake Valley (SLV) which has been attributed to complex distribution systems, varying water management practices and multiple sources used across the valley. Building on these observations, we collaborated with the largest water supply company in SLV, Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District (JVWCD) and expanded our project which now includes predicting the source (or sources) contributing to a given supply area. The different sources supplying JVWCD (such as Provo River system, Wasatch Creeks and groundwater wells) have similar yet distinct isotope ratios, providing an excellent opportunity to test the robustness of water isotopes in monitoring distribution pattern of the sources in the supply system. For this project, we collected more than 100 samples/month (between April 2015-May 2016), from different water sources (creeks, streams and groundwater wells), water treatment plants (WTP), storage reservoirs and delivery locations along the supply lines across the water distribution area, measured their isotopic ratio and developed isotopic mixing models using Hierarchical Bayesian (HB) framework to connect the different sources in the system to their supply area. In this study, we have used water isotopes to quantify the proportion of water supplied by different sources at various locations within the supply system. We have explicitly incorporated volumetric and spatial effects to constrain the contribution of each source, thus addressing identifiability issues associated with partitioning multiple sources with only two isotopes (δ2H and δ18O). Our initial results are in close agreement with those obtained by physical models used by JVWCD. Our result suggests that isotopes open a new line of investigative technique to analyze urban water systems which does not require details of the supply system information. HB isotopic models can be extremely useful in systems where the supply information is missing, or are proprietary. In general, comparing the results from the isotope model can help improve the robustness of the existing physical models. Considering the fact that isotopic measurements have become fairly easy and cheap, coupling the physical supply models with isotope data in future can make urban water supply systems analysis more robust and accurate. The only requirement for robust estimates from isotopic models is the presence of sufficient isotopic variations between the different sources in the system. In systems with sources having comparable or similar isotope values, the robustness of the estimates will be questionable.

Speakers
avatar for Yusuf Jameel

Yusuf Jameel

PhD Candidate, University of Utah
Yusuf Jameel is a PhD candidate working with Dr. Gabe Bowen, studying urban and natural waterways at the department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Utah. He has been analyzing the connections between human population, climate, water extraction, water use, and water use i... Read More →



3:20pm

Critical Outcomes, Lasting Impact: 5 Years of Science for Utah's Water Future [70 min.]
Critical Outcomes, Lasting Impact: 5 Years of Science for Utah's Water Future

In this series of 5 presentations, research and education/outreach leads for iUTAH, a statewide, NSF-funded infrastructure-building project, present important outcomes and lasting impacts of the research, training, education and outreach activities conducted by iUTAH's 800+ current and former participants, 10 participating institutions of higher education, and over 100 partner organizations.

Full Abstracts:
* denotes presenter

I. Transcending system boundaries through integrative ecohydrologic research
Dr. Zachary T. Aanderud*, Brigham Young University, Amber Spackman Jones, Utah State University, Jeffery S. Horsburgh, Utah State University, David Eiriksson, University of Utah, Dylan Dastrup, Brigham Young University, Christopher Cox, Utah State University, Scott Jones, Utah State University, David Bowling, University of Utah, Jobie Carlisle, Utah State University, Greg Carling, Brigham Young University, and Michelle A. Baker, Utah State University

The effects of urbanization on water quality vary in time and are extremely hard to capture. Further, in the semi-arid Western U.S., variable snowpack levels due to a warming climate, seasonal flows from agriculture run-off, and unprecedented population growth and water use in metropolitan areas may create rapid changes in water quality. To more fully understand the temporal impact of urbanization on water resources, we created a real-time observatory network spanning three watersheds in northern Utah which possess similar climates and a common water source, mountain winter-derived precipitation, but differ levels of urbanization. The aquatic monitoring stations in the GAMUT Network include sensors to measure chemical (dissolved oxygen, specific conductance, pH, nitrate, and fluorescent dissolved organic matter, (fDOM)), physical (stage, temperature, and turbidity), and biological components (chlorophyll content and phycocyanin) logging every 15 minutes. As fall transitioned to winter, our high frequency water quality data captured runoff events in urbanized areas carrying pulses of nutrients and organic matter to rivers. In Red Butte Creek, the most urbanized of the GAMUT watersheds, pulses of fDOM occurred 22 times over a three-month period, sometimes lasting up to 3 days. By comparison, levels of fDOM remained relatively constant around 30 quinine sulfate units (QSU) in the Provo River and 1.5 QSU in the Logan River over the same time period. Further, urbanization led to more blooms demonstrated by Red Butte Creek experiencing 236 cyanobacteria blooms, measured as changes in phycocyanin. Over the same time period, 75 green algal blooms occurred, which increased chlorophyll-a concentrations an average of 313% per day compared to days without elevated levels. Photosynthetic pigment spikes were also present in the Provo River from mid-November to the end of December but to a much lesser extent (33 algal and 11 cyanobacterial). Our findings suggest that the built infrastructure, high percentages of impervious surfaces, and multiple storm drain outfalls that often accompanies the urbanization of rivers may lead to the flashier changes in water quality.


II. Innovations and integration in social and engineering water science
Dr. Courtney G. Flint*, Utah State University

iUTAH’s social and engineering water science investigated the drivers of water and land use management in the Wasatch Region Metropolitan Area as well as how natural, built, and social structures interact in the water system. We explored the potential for green infrastructure to improve water sustainability and modeled the impacts of urban growth and planning. Using innovative methods for integrating data representing water perspectives, alternatives, and actions across a diverse set of stakeholders, we have informed decision-making throughout Utah’s water system.


III. Coupling the human-natural water system: five years of participatory modeling and innovative visualization
Dr. Courtenay Strong*, University of Utah, and Dr. Sarah E. Null, Utah State University

iUTAH research on coupled human-natural water system modeling builds on Utah’s strengths in hydrologic modeling to enhance forecasting capabilities for water managers and stakeholders. Our teams have created new models and linked previously disparate models and data sets to investigate system processes and future water outcomes focused on supply, demand, quality, and ecosystem services. New capabilities include agent-based modeling of households, a framework for decadal-scale water supply criticality analysis, the HydroCouple Software framework which enables linkage of diverse modeling frameworks, methods for optimizing strategies for infrastructure changes such as water barrier removal, and impactful visualization technologies.

 
IV. Cyberinfrastructure to support large scale, collaborative water research in Utah: critical outcomes from the iUTAH project
Dr. Jeff Horsburgh, Utah State University, and Amber Spackman Jones*, Utah State University

iUTAH (innovative Urban Transitions and Aridregion Hydro-sustainability) is a statewide effort focused on water sustainability in Utah. Synthesis of diverse data collection and modeling by cross-disciplinary and cross-institutional research teams, such as those working on the iUTAH project, requires storage, software, networking, computational, and human resources. Over the past 5 years, our team has built cyberinfrastructure to support the full data life cycle and increase capacity for data collection, organization, management, sharing, synthesis to higher-level products, and integration with models. iUTAH cyberinfrastructure is comprised of hardware and software systems that have enabled iUTAH researchers and partners to share data, models, and other digital resources. This includes cyberinfrastructure deployed for management of streaming sensor data from iUTAH’s Gradients Along Mountain to Urban Transitions (GAMUT) network of aquatic and terrestrial monitoring sites, databases and web applications supporting publication of water quality and biological data derived from samples, tools for interactive dissemination of extensive social science survey datasets, and a sharing and publication workflow for the various other types of data collected by iUTAH researchers. In this presentation, we describe the challenges associated with creating cyberinfrastructure to support a research project of this scale, which are not unique to iUTAH, but are faced by many collaborative scientific groups. We describe how iUTAH Cyberinfrastructure coordinates across Utah universities, including provisioning hardware that enables hosting of data publication and sharing services as well as data storage resources for redundancy and for High Performance Computing. We also describe the hardware and software platforms that have improved data access and new tools for collaboration among iUTAH participants.


V. Advancing a water-literate workforce and citizenry for Utah
Dr. Mark W. Brunson*, Utah State University, and Ellen Eiriksson, Utah State University

Utah has both incentive and opportunity to lead the nation in innovative solutions for water management and sustainability. A critical component of iUTAH’s mission has been to help build a foundation for innovation in sustainable water management through education and outreach programs that can train students to meet the challenges facing our state while increasing awareness of those challenges by Utah residents. iUTAH’s Education, Outreach, and Diversity (EOD) activities have encompassed the work of four teams – Workforce Development, External Engagement, Diversity Enhancement, and Communications – whose efforts are designed to have lasting impact

Moderators
AL

Andreas Leidolf

Assistant Director, iUTAH EPSCoR
Andreas (Andy) Leidolf received a Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry/Wildlife Management from Mississippi State University in 1995. He pursued his graduate education at Utah State University (USU), where he received a Master of Science degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Ecology in 1999. He served as an Assistant Professor (tenure-track) of Biology and Environmental Science at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, from 2006-2007. Prior to that, he had been involved in teaching and research at... Read More →

Speakers
ZA

Zachary Aanderud

Associate Professor, Brigham Young University
Dr. Zach Aanderud is an Associate Professor of Microbial and Ecosystem Ecology at Brigham Young University. His research links temporal fluctuations in resources to microbial community structure and ecosystem services. This overarching theme has inspired questions relating to the... Read More →
avatar for Mark Brunson

Mark Brunson

Professor, Department of Environment and Society, Utah State University
Mark Brunson is a professor of Environment and Society at Utah State University and director of education, outreach, and diversity programs for iUTAH. His research explores how and why human behavior affects, and is affected by, the natural environment, including ongoing study of... Read More →
CF

Courtney Flint

Professor, Utah State University
Dr. Courtney Flint is a Professor of Sociology at Utah State University. Her research focuses on community and regional response to environmental disturbance and risk as well as the integration of social science and environmental science to address natural resource related vulner... Read More →
AJ

Amber Jones

Research Engineer, Utah State University, Utah Water Research Laboratory
Amber Jones is a research engineer at the Utah Water Research Laboratory at Utah State University with background in watershed hydrology, water quality, and environmental information systems. She has played an integral role in development and implementation of cyberinfrastructure... Read More →
CS

Court Strong

Associate Professor, University of Utah
Court Strong is an Associate Professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of Utah. His research focuses on atmosphere-cryosphere interactions, where the cryosphere is the frozen part of the climate system including mountain snow pack and sea ice. He studies climate change u... Read More →



4:00pm

Using 87Sr/86Sr Ratios to Investigate Changes in Stream Chemistry
Using 87Sr/86Sr Ratios to Investigate Changes in Stream Chemistry

Summary:
Water chemistry in mountain streams is variable during spring snowmelt as shallow groundwater flow paths are activated in the watershed, introducing solutes derived from soil water. Sr isotopes and other tracers can be used to differentiate waters that have interacted with soils and dust (shallow groundwater) and bedrock (deep groundwater).

Full Abstract:
Water chemistry in mountain streams is variable during spring snowmelt as shallow groundwater flow paths are activated in the watershed, introducing solutes derived from soil water. Sr isotopes and other tracers can be used to differentiate waters that have interacted with soils and dust (shallow groundwater) and bedrock (deep groundwater). To investigate processes controlling water chemistry during snowmelt, we analyzed 87Sr/86Sr ratios, Sr and other trace element concentrations in bulk snowpack, dust, soil, soil water, ephemeral channels, and river water during snowmelt runoff in the upper Provo River watershed in northern Utah, USA, over four years (2014-2017). Strontium concentrations in the river averaged ~20 ppb during baseflow and decreased to ~10 ppb during snowmelt runoff. 87Sr/86Sr ratios were around 0.717 during base flow and decreased to 0.715 in 2014 and 0.713 in 2015 and 2016 during snowmelt, trending towards less radiogenic values of mineral dust inputs in the Uinta Mountain soils. Ephemeral channels, representing shallow flow paths with soil water inputs, had Sr concentrations between 7-20 ppb and 87Sr/86Sr ratios between 0.713-0.716. Snowpack Sr concentrations were generally

Speakers
CH

Colin Hale

Graduate Student, BYU
Colin Hale has graduated from Brigham Young University with his bachelor’s degree in Geology. He is currently working towards his master’s degree at the same university under Dr. Greg Carling. He is studying the processes controlling fluctuations in river water chemistry duri... Read More →



 
Thursday, November 16
 

8:00am

Registration & Check-in
Check-in, grab your badge, and meet other attendees before we kick off Day 2!

8:30am

Opening Comments
Organizers
avatar for Robert Thompson

Robert Thompson

Watershed Section Manager, Salt Lake County Watershed Planning & Restoration
Robert Thompson manages the Salt Lake County Watershed section and is a professionally licensed Geologist in the state of Utah. He specializes in fluvial geomorphology and the restoration of fluvial systems. He has a background in water quality data collection, restoration design... Read More →


8:40am

KEYNOTE Salt Lake County's Climate Adaptation Plan for Public Health
KEYNOTE Salt Lake County's Climate Adaptation Plan for Public Health

The release of greenhouse gases into the earth's atmosphere has set the climate on a course to change drastically in the near future, and these changes are having a significant impact on human health in Salt Lake County. There is broad scientific consensus that climate change is occuring at a rate raste than previously anticipated, and is causing warmer temperatures, droughts, and more frequent extreme weather events in our region. It is important that we take action now, both to mitigate the impacts of climate change and to develop adaptation strategies that enhance the region's resiliency to the inevitable changes it will experience. Many responses to climate change could positively impact the region in multiple ways, simultaneously reducing the burden of disease, saving money, protecting the environment, developing community, and addressing inequality. Salt Lake County's Climate Change Adaptation Plan for Public Health will provide a plan for organizations in the Salt Lake region to respond to the health impacts of climate change, serving to build a healthier, more resilient community, and setting an example for other local health departments in Utah.

Speakers
avatar for Royal DeLegge

Royal DeLegge

Director, Environmental Health, Salt Lake County Health Department
Royal DeLegge has served as Environmental Health Director for the Salt Lake County Health Department since August 1999. Previously, Royal served as Director of Environmental Health for the Winnebago County Health Department in Rockford, Illinois and before that held various posit... Read More →



9:05am

Panel Discussion on Local Watershed Planning Efforts and Implementation in the Wasatch Mountains
Panel Discussion on Local Watershed Planning Efforts and Implementation in the Wasatch Mountains 

This panel will discuss local planning and implementation efforts along in the Wasatch Mountains in Salt Lake County as two major plans kick off updates. The panel will include discussion of the history of planning efforts for these mountain watersheds as well as emerging issues current planning efforts have yet to address. In addition, the discussion will include the coordination of the plan updates.


Moderators
avatar for Alan Matheson

Alan Matheson

Executive Director, Utah Department of Environmental Quality
Alan Matheson is the Executive Director of the Utah Department of Environmental Quality and policy advisor to Governor Gary R. Herbert. He also served as State Planning Coordinator. Alan previously was an attorney practicing energy, natural resources and water law, and served as... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Laura Briefer

Laura Briefer

Director, Salt Lake City Department of Public Utilities
Laura Briefer is the Director of Salt Lake City Department of Public Utilities (SLCDPU). She was appointed Director in March 2016 by Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski. Ms. Briefer has worked at SLCDPU for more than eight years in various areas of the organization and has 22 years professional experience in natural resource and environmental professions in the public, private, and non-profit sectors. She holds a... Read More →
avatar for Teresa Gray

Teresa Gray

Bureau Manager, Water Quality Hazardous Waste, Salt Lake County Health Department
Teresa Gray is the Bureau Manager Water Quality and Hazardous Waste for the Salt Lake County Health Department which consists of 19 programs.  She has been a Licensed Environmental Health Scientist for over 20 years. Her focus is on building partnerships. She has extensive knowledge in environmental regulations and public health issues including: water quality, hazardous waste, wastewater, household hazardous waste, recycling, swimming pools and public... Read More →
avatar for Bekee Hotze

Bekee Hotze

District Ranger, United States Forest Service
Bekee Hotze is the District Ranger for the Salt Lake Ranger District on the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest.  She has over 5 years of experience managing Federal lands in highly urbanized areas dealing with challenges associated with the unique circumstances of working next to a large, metropolitan... Read More →
avatar for Wilf Sommerkorn

Wilf Sommerkorn

Director, Salt Lake County Regional Planning & Transportation
Wilf Sommerkorn is the Director of Regional Planning and Transportation for Salt Lake County.  He was Salt Lake City Planning Director from 2008 to 2014.  Prior to that, Wilf was Director of the Davis County Community & Economic Development Department for 14 years.  He was a planner in various positions with that Department since... Read More →


10:00am

10:20am

How’s our Watershed’s Health? Ask your Mouth-Feet and Mussels
How’s our Watershed’s Health? Ask your Mouth-Feet and Mussels

Summary:
Our poster children and ultimate metric of watershed health, native mollusks, are rapidly disappearing from Utah

Full Abstract:
When it comes to our watershed, do we want to strive for: world class health, average American sloth-like health, or “whatever the government decides, is good enough for me” health? Measuring and monitoring watershed health is by no means an easy task, however we propose that any valid SLC watershed doctor’s toolbox should include the ultimate metric; native mollusk population viability, particularly mussel population viability. We will discuss why native mollusks are so important to the health of our watershed based on findings from several years of field surveys and several decades pondering that age old question, ‘by Jimini, just how do we measure and monitor watershed health’? and conclude that viable native mollusk populations are the go to tools. We then provide initial guidance on how to use them.

Speakers
TM

Theron Miller

Research Director, Wasatch Front Water Quality Council
BS; Utah State University, Aquatic Sciences | MS; University of Alberta, Aquatic toxicology | PhD; University of Alberta, Aquatic Ecology/Limnology | Worked for Utah Division of Water Quality for 10 years managing the nonpoint source program, Wetlands Assessment Program and L... Read More →
avatar for David Richards

David Richards

Conservation Biologist, OreoHelix Ecological Consulting
Dr Richards, a conservation biologist, has been conducting research on aquatic ecosystems since Ancient Lake Bonneville drained the swamp. One of his primary research foci is on aquatic macroinvertebrates, particularly freshwater mollusks and how they relate to water quality. He... Read More →



10:20am

Water Quality Studies, TMDLs, Project Work...Oh My!
Water Quality Studies, TMDLs, Project Work...Oh My!

Summary:
Utah Division of Water Quality (UDWQ) is conducting several water quality studies within the Utah Lake-Jordan River watershed. These studies delve deep into the world of protecting and improving water quality along the Wasatch Front.

Full Abstract:
Utah Division of Water Quality (UDWQ) is conducting several water quality studies within the Utah Lake-Jordan River watershed. These studies delve deep into the world of protecting and improving water quality along the Wasatch Front. Utah Lake’s water quality study will determine the effects of nutrients on the ecological integrity of the lake and help establish protective endpoints for the future. UDWQ is also focusing on the next phase of the Lower Jordan River Dissolved Oxygen (DO) Total Maximum Daily Load. In Phase 1 bulk load allocations of organic matter were established for both point and nonpoint sources. Phase 2 will focus on applying a more robust model to develop specific load allocations for sources throughout the watershed. In addition to in-depth water quality studies, UDWQ is also participating in on-going remediation efforts along the mainstem of the Jordan River and tributaries. This work is often accomplished through a cohort of partnering entities who share a common goal of preserving water quality throughout the watershed.

Speakers
SD

Scott Daly

Environmental Scientist, Utah Division of Water Quality
Scott Daly is the Utah Lake Watershed Coordinator for the Utah Division of Water Quality’s Watershed Protection Section. In this role he is involved in a diverse range of activities related to Utah Lake including scientific water quality studies, watershed planning, nonpoint so... Read More →
LP

Lucy Parham

Environmental Scientist, Utah Division of Water Quality
Lucy Parham is a TMDL and watershed coordinator for the Utah Division of Water Quality. She currently manages watershed implementation in the Uinta Basin and TMDL development for the Jordan River. Prior to working for DWQ, she was a water resources consultant in Salt Lake City wh... Read More →
SW

Sandy Wingert

Environmental Scientist, Utah Division of Water Quality
Sandy Wingert is an Environmental Scientist who has worked for the Utah Division of Water Quality for past 11 years. She got her Master’s degree in Environmental Health from the University of South Carolina. For the State, she is charged with all things related to water quality... Read More →



11:00am

Historical Occurrence of Unionid Mussels in Utah and Ammonia Standards
Historical Occurrence of Unionid Mussels in Utah and Ammonia Standards

Summary:
The Utah DWQ teamed with researchers from Utah State University to summarize the available reports of the occurrence of unionid mussels in Utah. The presence of absence of these mussels affects how stringent the water quality criteria will be for ammonia. The results of this work will be presented and water quality implications discussed.

Full Abstract:
In 2013, the USEPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) published revised water quality criteria for ammonia. These revised criteria are more stringent if sensitive species of mussels (Order Unionoida) meet the USEPA definition of “residents.” Meeting the more stringent ammonia criteria will be potentially costly for publically-owned treatment works and the public that they serve. To determine if the more stringent criteria are appropriate for Utah’s publically-owned treatment works, the Division of Water will evaluate if the sensitive mussels are “residents”. The first step in this process was to review the available reports on the occurrences of the sensitive mussels in Utah. Researchers at Utah State University recently completed a report that summarizes these findings. The results are a database that can be viewed in tabular or map formats. In addition, the reliability of these reports was qualitatively evaluated. The results show that in portions of Utah, these mussels were present in the past. The next step in determining if the sensitive mussels are USEPA “residents” will be to conduct site-specific surveys to determine if the mussels are currently present. The Central Valley Wastewater Reclamation Facility has already conducted these surveys for portions of the Jordan River and no live sensitive mussels were found although historically, the reports indicate that they used to be plentiful. Wherever the sensitive mussels are not currently present but were present in the past, determining the likely reasons for the current absence is a critical step in determining the appropriate ammonia criteria.

Speakers
CB

Chris Bittner

Standards Coordinator, Utah Division of Water Quality
Mr. Bittner is the water quality standards coordinator for the Division of Water Quality. He has over 25 years of environmental evaluation experience in toxicology, risk assessment and water quality assessment.



11:00am

Jordan River Phase II TMDL: The Organic Matter Conundrum
Jordan River Phase II TMDL: The Organic Matter Conundrum

Summary:
The Jordan River TMDL is one of the first major TMDLs in the nation to address organic matter as the primary cause of low dissolved oxygen criteria violation. Because organic matter comes in many varieties, sizes and degree of reactivity, this presents particular challenges in understanding sources and potential mechanisms of restoration.

Full Abstract:
Phase I of the Jordan River TMDL concluded that the low dissolved oxygen was primarily the result of elevated values of sediment oxygen demand throughout the lower Jordan River. Considerable work has been performed to more fully understand the sources and transport of difference forms of organic matter, including dissolved organic matter, fine particulate organic matter and coarse particulate organic matter and fractions which may be refractory or more labile. This presentation will update the state of our knowledge with recent research findings and analyses integrated with earlier findings.

Speakers
TM

Theron Miller

Research Director, Wasatch Front Water Quality Council
BS; Utah State University, Aquatic Sciences | MS; University of Alberta, Aquatic toxicology | PhD; University of Alberta, Aquatic Ecology/Limnology | Worked for Utah Division of Water Quality for 10 years managing the nonpoint source program, Wetlands Assessment Program and L... Read More →



11:40am

Media to Remove Metals, Nutrients and Other Runoff Pollutants
Media to Remove Metals, Nutrients and Other Runoff Pollutants

Summary:
It simple really. There are a whole host of available, green, and low cost media that can be used to remove pollutants in runoff. Design: filtration cell. Chemistry is the key to knowing what media to use given the target pollutant.

Full Abstract:
There is a revolution afoot in stormwater treatment. This is the use of a whole range of low-cost, non-proprietary, readily available, and green media that effectively and passively remove a range of pollutants in stormwater runoff. What’s removed? Metals, phosphorus, solids, color, and potentially bacteria, and organic chemicals. What’s the media: recycled scrap iron that rusts into an effective pollutant binder. Spent lime from municipal drinking water treatment waste that creates a pH environment that can precipitate metals, remove phosphorus, and kill bacteria. Other media such as steel mill slag and biochar have the potential to augment iron and spent lime when the conditions are required. Traditional stormwater treatment approaches predominantly remove solids and are largely ineffective at removing dissolved pollutants. Media can be placed in filtration cells to capture the dissolved pollutants. The outcome is high rates of total and dissolved pollutant removal. This presentation will demonstrate the use of these new media in full scale systems, how they are designed, and how they are performing.

Speakers
KP

Keith Pilgrim

Water Resources Scientist, Barr Engineering
Keith Pilgrim is a water resources scientist at Barr Engineering. He has a passion for developing new ways to solve problems. One of his current passions is identifying new ways to treat all of the constituents in stormwater runoff, both the particulate and the dissolved fraction... Read More →



11:40am

Nutrient Cycling in the Jordan River: Seasonal & Spatial Variations
Nutrient Cycling in the Jordan River: Seasonal & Spatial Variations

Summary:
Water reclamation facilities dominate nutrient loads to the river, although some processing by in-stream biota is also present. The influence of facilities varies spatially and seasonally.

Full Abstract:
Arid regions face increasing pressure to manage water quantity and quality in the face of urban expansion and climate change. As greater percentage of a catchment's water balance flows through engineered urban system, it is crucial to understand how these engineered flowpaths influence downstream ecosystems. The Jordan River, which drains the Salt Lake City urban region receives significant nutrient loading from four water reclamation facilities (WRFs), as well as urban runoff, and natural sources from seven alpine streams which flowing through the urban core before entering the river. The river experiences periods of seasonal hypoxia, especially in low-velocity reaches downstream of several nutrient sources. Nutrient availability can influence microbial respiration of organic matter in rivers. It is therefore crucial to understand the relative role of nutrient inputs and in-stream processing on N, P and C transport. We sampled the Jordan synoptically during three distinct seasonal hydroperiods (spring/snowmelt, summer, and fall drawdown) in order to better understand the river’s role as a transporter and transformer of nutrients throughout the year. Sampling locations included above and below each of three WRFs, as well as and ‘intensive’ reach every 1km downstream of the surplus canal near 1700S. We also sampled effluent outfalls. At each site, we measured concentrations of dissolved N and P species (nitrate, ammonium, organic N, phosphate, and organic P), particulate N and P, as well as DOC in surface water. Cumulative TDN and TDP loads from WRFs upstream of 1700S were equal to or greater than the riverine load at this location, however reach-scale patterns show substantial N and P removal from the water column. In the 13km reach between Jordan Basin and South Valley, TDN and TDP loads declined by 43 and 55% respectively during spring runoff. TDN increased in the reach between South Valley and Central (26 and 3% increase during spring and summer), while this reach remained a sink for TDP (25 and 53% removal in spring and summer). Shifting forms (organic vs. inorganic) of nutrients provided further evidence of biotic processing between WRF outfalls. Across seasons, we found that the organic character of the TDN was highest directly downstream of a WRF outfall, and became dominated by inorganic N downstream. TDP showed the opposite pattern, with the high inorganic P downstream of outfall sites, and increasing organic P content further downstream. Stable isotope content of NO3- increased steadily along the entire reach of the river between Utah Lake and 1700s, as expected in response to cumulative effluent loading. Unexpectedly, however, stable isotopes of N declined along the intensive reach (downstream of 1700), suggesting an additional NO3- sources in this reach. Our results suggest that, while nutrient loading to the river is dominated by point-source anthropogenic inputs, biotic processes and in-stream storage influence the quantity of N and P transported downstream, and additional nutrient inputs offset any ecological uptake.

Speakers
RS

Rose Smith

Research Assistant Professor, University of Utah
I am an ecosystem ecologist, and my research interests include the ways in which human activities and climate change influences ecological function of river corridors. Much of my work focuses on the interaction of urban infrastructure and freshwater ecosystems, specifically focus... Read More →



12:10pm

12:45pm

'Watershed Steward of the Year' Award Ceremony
"Watershed Steward of the Year" Award Ceremony

Nominate someone! 

This award is given to an individual who is nominated by peers in the community to be recognized and celebrated as a watershed hero! This individual should qualify as someone who successfully helps to restore and improve our rivers and watershed, someone who consistently works to sustain the health of our rivers and someone we think about while drinking, kayaking, fishing and enjoying our waters. 

Need more incentive? Nominate someone and you'll be entered into prize drawings!

*held during lunch

1:10pm

Beyond Traditional Stormwater Project Delivery—Community-Based P3
Beyond Traditional Stormwater Project Delivery—Community-Based P3

Summary:
Prince George County, MD is required to treat urban stormwater to meet Chesapeake Bay TMDL requirements for nutrients and sediment. The County has entered into a Community Based Public Private Partnership (P3) to design and construct stormwater treatment facilities and provide contracting opportunities to target class and local firms

Full Abstract:
The effect of stormwater discharges to surface waters has fundamental impacts to economic development and a community’s quality of life. Local municipalities struggle with ways to improve the effectiveness of its stormwater infrastructure and compliance with water quality requirements while balancing the needs of competing capital investment funding priorities. Alternative delivery of public projects has been around for some time; however, with natural resource projects, the tried and true design-bid-build delivery has been the staple. Looking to balance risk, regulatory obligations and social needs, a new option has emerged called Community Based Public Private Partnerships (CBP3). A case study will be highlighted from one community’s entry into this new strategy of accessing the private sector’s efficiencies and expertise to develop, manage, and maintain stormwater control measures to meet MS4 permit compliance while also providing local workforce development and social values. Lessons learned will be shared, with real-world examples. Stormwater quality facilities to treat 2000 acres of impervious areas are designed, permitted and constructed in Phase 1 of this project- in the first 3 years. This will assist Prince George’s County in meeting the MS4 retrofit permit requirement for the Chesapeake Bay TMDL for nutrients and sediment.. Phase 2 will extend the contract for another 3 years and require another 2000 acres of treatment. Stormwater treatment focus on building new structural BMP’s (sand filters, micro-bioretention, submerged gravel wetlands) on urban sites ( schools, county and municipal libraries, public works stations, police stations), retrofitting existing wet ponds, by adding capacity to treat the WQCV and stream restoration. A team of 5 engineering firms find the sites, design and permit the BMPs. At about 60% design, a general contractor is assigned the project and leads constructability and value engineering reviews. After permits are received, the general contractor bids the work to a minimum of three sub-contractors to meet target class and local contractor goals. Bids are reviewed and work is awarded for construction. A third party agency inspects and certifies that the BMPs are constructed to design plans and treat the impervious areas within the drainage area. After certification and construction are complete, the facility will be maintained quarterly, inspected annually and recertified every 3 years.

Primary learning objectives:
• Discuss trends in stormwater project delivery
• Detail the elements of a community-based P3 program for stormwater management.
• Provide case study example of Prince George’s County, MD and its CBP3 program to provide stormwater treatment to meet Chesapeake Bay TMDL requirements for nutrients and sediment.

The CBP3 program strategy approaches stormwater quality management by involving the private sector in transferring risk of planning, design, and construction, adding in social value creation to have an emphasis on local small and disadvantaged business development and utilization, providing long-term sustainability through streamlined implementation and maintenance, and promotes flexibility in procurement of local contractors.

Speakers
avatar for Karen Nichols

Karen Nichols

Water Resource Engineer, HDR
Karen Nichols has over 25 years, with a focus in public works, involved in design, managing of projects for local, state, and federal governments involving stormwater planning and permitting, watershed planning ,surface waters and Clean Water Act permit compliance. Karen is curre... Read More →



1:10pm

The Great Salt Lake: Water Not Wasted
The Great Salt Lake: Water Not Wasted

This presentation will highlight the importance of keeping water in Great Salt Lake. Great Salt Lake brings millions of birds to the State of Utah to fuel up for their long migrations and it also hosts many birds that stay in the valley to feed on brine shrimp and brine flies. The lake is also important for many big industries that use it's resources for the benefit of human life, from table salt to fertilizers. The beauty of lake brings photographers, tourists and recreation to our State. There are so many reasons why the water that flows into Great Salt Lake is not wasted and this talk will cover five of the main reasons and hopefully shine a light on just how amazing this natural resource is.

Link to Presentation (Prezi)

Speakers
avatar for Ashley Kijowski

Ashley Kijowski

Wildlife Biologist II, Department of Natural Resources/Division of Wildlife Resources
I am a Wildlife Biologist at the Great Salt Lake Ecosystem Program (GSLEP) within the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR). Here my duties are to develop research questions, prepare study design and conduct research in regards to the Great Salt Lake ecosystem. At GSLEP, we... Read More →


1:50pm

Calling All Collaborators: Robust Decision-Making & Climate Adaptation
Calling All Collaborators: Robust Decision-Making & Climate Adaptation

Summary:
Climate change and conventional stormwater management alters hydrology and water quality and creates uncertainty of water supply. USU researchers are developing a robust decision-making framework to use with stakeholders to identify strategies that reach stormwater management and harvesting goals under various environmental conditions.

Full Abstract:
Conventional stormwater management is centered on gray stormwater infrastructure (i.e., gutters and storm drain systems) that directs stormwater runoff to surface water. This infrastructure has led to changes in hydrology and water quality, such as reduced infiltration to groundwater and contaminated runoff. Additionally, climate change creates uncertainty of environmental conditions and consequently water supply for humans and ecosystems. Salt Lake Valley, and other snow-dominated regions, depend on snowpack for storage and supply. These regions are at risk due to reduced snowpack reliability, with climate warming causing more rain on snow events and changes in runoff timing, resulting in unreliable snowpack storage and stormwater run off leaving the area before it can be used. Our research team is interested in the potential of green stormwater infrastructure (i.e., bioswales, vegetated infiltration areas, rain gardens, subsurface storage and infiltration systems, and green roofs) to alleviate the impacts of gray stormwater infrastructure and climate change to facilitate stormwater harvesting in the Salt Lake Valley. One part of this project is to develop a robust decision-making framework to support sustainable stormwater decision-making and policy with uncertainty from climate change conditions. Robust decision-making frameworks are an iterative process where stakeholders are included at the initiation of the process. The process generally begins with stakeholders and researchers identifying potential policy and management strategies, uncertainties, risks, and goals. This is then followed by estimating the performance of the potential strategies across the uncertainties identified in the first step. The third step involves finding the conditions under which the potential strategies are vulnerable. Then, the performance of the potential strategies are compared. This process can continue until robust strategies that reach goals chosen by stakeholders and under various environmental conditions are identified. The framework for this project is still in the initial stages. The objective of this presentation is to outline the steps for a robust decision-making framework in the context of Salt Lake Valley and stormwater harvesting, as well as obtain feedback from stakeholders in the Salt Lake area.

Speakers
avatar for Liana Prudencio

Liana Prudencio

Graduate Researcher and PhD Student, Utah State University
Liana is a graduate researcher and PhD student at Utah State University in the Department of Watershed Sciences. She also has a BS in Journalism & Mass Communication from Iowa State University and an MS in Sociology from the University of Utah. Her research interests largely focu... Read More →



1:50pm

Unique Bird Habitat on a Prehistoric Jordan River Delta as it Enters Great Salt Lake—National Audubon Society’s Gillmor Sanctuary
Unique Bird Habitat on a Prehistoric Jordan River Delta as it Enters Great Salt Lake—National Audubon Society’s Gillmor Sanctuary

Summary:
Audubon manages a bird preserve on the Jordan River for saline mudflats and ephemeral wetlands for many of the millions of birds that depend on a diverse wetland complex. Issues and threats such as climate change, water quantity, quality and timing make preserving this unique habitat increasingly important for sustaining the biodiversity of GSL.

Full Abstract:
Since 1992, National Audubon Society (Audubon) has been actively working with the Utah Mitigation Commission to create a bird sanctuary on the shoreline of Great Salt Lake in extreme northwestern Salt Lake County. Today the South Shore Preserve (Audubon Gillmor Sanctuary and Mitigation Commission Properties) consists of about 3000 acres of land and 3000 acre feet of water. The Preserve is an end-user of Jordan River Basin water before it enters directly into the adjacent Gilbert Bay on Great Salt Lake. Annually, Great Salt Lake hosts millions of birds that nest or migrate through the large complex of diverse wetlands. It is one of the largest concentrations of birds on the planet. National Audubon Society’s mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth's biological diversity. Management of the wetlands adjacent to Great Salt Lake has historically focused primarily on waterfowl in permanent fresh water impoundments. Existing literature on managing wetlands for shorebirds clearly illustrates a deficit of knowledge with most articles stressing the need for a careful experimental approach. Added to the complexity for managing the shallowly flooded saline wetlands of the Preserve is the lack of knowledge of the critical role that salt plays in development of these diverse wetlands. The focus of the Preserve habitat enhancement is on these shallow ephemeral saline mudflats and the shorebirds that use them. To create this shorebird habitat, fresh water from the Jordan River is introduced into a series of ten water management units ranging from 14-330 acres of salt mudflats situated in a large, dry, intact, relict delta created by the prehistoric Jordan River. The Preserve is being managed through a science-based approach that is adaptive and cutting edge, promoting through field experimentation, an understanding of creating and maintaining a healthy and diverse mosaic of habitats that are consistent with the dynamic and changing nature of the Great Salt Lake ecosystem. Located in the narrow strip of land along the western flank of the Wasatch Mountains, the most populous area in Utah, many wetlands have been and continue to be lost and affected by an exploding human population growth and the resulting development. Audubon is concerned about issues and threats to the health of the wetlands such as climate change, water quantity, quality and timing.

Speakers
HH

Heidi Hoven

Assistant Gillmor Sanctuary Manager, National Audubon Society
Heidi Hoven is a wetland ecologist and plant scientist who has conducted research and monitoring programs in wetlands of Great Salt Lake for the last 18 years. She consulted for large wetland restoration planning and monitoring projects with KUCC/Rio Tinto, UDOT, DWQ and Salt Lak... Read More →
ES

Ella Sorensen

Manager NAS Gillmor Sanctuary, National Audubon Society
Ella Sorensen has worked for decades for National Audubon Society to piece together land and water to create the South Shore Preserve a bird sanctuary located on the shoreline of Great Salt Lake. She and Heidi Hoven PhD, currently manage the area with a focus on research for shor... Read More →



2:20pm

Break, snacks and prize drawing!
Look for the "big ticket" signs for places to get raffle tickets!  Visit exhibitor tables, snap a pic at the photo wall, and more. What's another way to win prizes?  Nominate your choice for Watershed Steward of the Year and you'll be entered into the drawings!


2:50pm

A Comprehensive Approach to Protecting Great Salt Lake's Water Quality
A Comprehensive Approach to Protecting Great Salt Lake's Water Quality

Summary:
The Great Salt Lake Water Quality Strategy is a comprehensive approach to protecting water quality in GSL through standard development, monitoring, and assessment. The Utah Division of Water Quality has made significant progress in implementing this strategy. Current directions include the development of wetland and nutrient components.

Full Abstract:
The Utah Division of Water Quality launched a Great Salt Lake Water Quality Strategy in 2012. The strategy was designed as a comprehensive approach for protecting the water quality of Great Salt Lake (GSL) and its surrounding wetlands and outlined a formal process for protecting GSL’s water quality through the development of a strategic monitoring plan, water quality standards, and beneficial use attainment assessment methods. DWQ continues to make progress in implementing the GSL Water Quality Strategy. Accomplishments to date include the implementation of a GSL monitoring program, the initial steps in numeric criteria development, and the implementation of an interim discharge permitting program to protect GSL’s water quality while standards and assessment methods are developed. Current directions for DWQ include the development of wetland and nutrient assessment components of the strategy. This presentation will provide an update on DWQ’s progress implementing the strategy to date and on current and future directions for the strategy. Attendees can expect to learn about: 1) DWQ’s vision for GSL, 2) DWQ’s authority under the Clean Water Act to protect GSL water quality, 3) regulatory mechanisms for protecting GSL’s water quality, 4) progress implementing DWQ’s GSL Water Quality Strategy to date, and 5) current and future directions for DWQ’s GSL Water Quality Strategy.

Speakers
JV

Jake VanderLaan

Great Salt Lake Water Quality Coordinator, Utah Division of Water Quality
Jake coordinates the Utah Division of Water Quality’s Great Salt Lake water quality and freshwater lake assessment programs. He has a B.S. in Environmental Science from Northern Michigan University and an M.S. in Aquatic Ecology from Utah State University. Jake joined DWQ in 20... Read More →



2:50pm

What Can We Restore on the River?
What Can We Restore on the River?

Over the past three decades, many ambitious restoration and enhancement projects have been completed along the Jordan River Corridor. This presentation will provide a broad-scale overview of many of the projects that have been completed, some that are underway, and some that are planned for the future. The main topics will center on what it takes to create and maintain a successful restoration project in this highly altered urban river system. After a broad discussion of the entire corridor, the presentation will then shift focus to a few example projects including the West Jordan Big Bend, Riverton Ponds, Lower Jordan River, and others. We will lay out a strategy for success which includes a base of building community support for stewardship through place-based learning opportunities, integration of primary education curriculum, and collaborative planning. Developing this strong support network, we can build the momentum for improving the river and riparian ecosystems and help folks upstream to understand their place in the watershed and how important their participation is in sustaining the long-term health of the Jordan River.

Link to Presentation (Prezi)

Speakers
avatar for Eric McCulley

Eric McCulley

Watershed Scientist, RiverRestoration
Eric McCulley is a Watershed Scientist for River Restoration and is based in Salt Lake City. He specializes in ecological restoration of streams and wetlands in the Intermountain West. He has a bachelor's degree in Geology from James Madison University and a Master’s of Science... Read More →
SS

Soren Simonsen

Executive Director, Jordan River Commission
Soren Simonsen is the Executive Director of the Jordan River Commission. He is an urban planner, architect, educator, community-builder and social entrepreneur. Over the past three decades, including 18 years of public service as an elected and appointed official, he has worked t... Read More →


3:30pm

Creating a Balance: Great Salt Lake Causeway Improvements
Creating a balance: Great Salt Lake Causeway Improvements

Summary:
Infrastructure improvements to the Great Salt Lake railroad causeway provided a new structure with control berms to modify the water and salt transfer to meet regulatory, industry and ecosystem objectives.

Full Abstract:
Getting trains across the Great Salt Lake has posed a challenge since the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad in 1869, almost 150 years ago. Built in 1902 and modified in 1959, the railway corridor consists of a rock causeway which had two concrete culverts allowing water, salt and boats to pass between the arms of the lake. The semi-permeable rock causeway divided the lake in two, creating a unique ecology where bacteria in the salt saturated north arm turns the water pink, while fresh water flowing into the less saline south arm keeps the water blue. Safety concerns led Union Pacific Railroad, current owner of the causeway, and environmental regulatory agencies to develop a phased permitting strategy to start the closure the culverts in 2012 and determine required mitigation to replace the water and salt transfer and navigability provided by the culverts. Union Pacific, regulatory agencies, and HDR’s environmental and engineering team developed an innovative solution: a new 180-foot-long bridge with a 150-foot control berm. Side adjustable earthen control berms, and a 5-foot invert berm on the lakebed, allow control of the salt and water transfer to meet ecological, industry and lake management objectives. To find the optimal causeway opening that would duplicate the culverts functionality, the team developed several water and salt balance model simulations, modifying the USGS’s Water and Salt Balance Model—the first extensive modeling of the lake since 1998. The effort included updating and recalibrating the model with 14 years of actual lake inflows, salinity and evaporation data, as the Great Salt Lake’s size and salinity is tied to water inflows and weather cycle fluctuations. The team ran various 25-year historical scenarios and compared salinity conditions for different causeway opening geometries. This effort, along with federal and state agency peer review, provided regulating agencies and stakeholders with new understanding of the water and salt transfer and make the updated model innovative and irreplaceable. Final permit was issued on September 9, 2015, and construction started on October 1, 2015. Designing and constructing a stable structure amidst difficult geological and chemical (high salinity) conditions was another significant challenge. The center of the causeway spans two tectonic faults, between which fills with soft sediment—the culprit behind the culverts failure. The new bridge was built in more stable geological conditions with 49 piles driven to over 200 feet—unique for a less than 35-foot-deep lake. Temporary access roads and a track shoofly routed maintenance vehicles and trains around the mid-lake site during construction of the bridge structure, berms and excavated channels. Project completion in December 2016, marks a renewed cooperative effort among Union Pacific, regulatory authorities and environmental advocates to protect and preserve the extraordinary assets of the Great Salt Lake. The project is highly valued by Union Pacific, which maintains causeway safety and operation; state officials, who have a long-term, lake management solution; and environmental groups, who see the lake’s ecological resources continuing to thrive.

Speakers
WG

Wally Gwynn

Former Utah State Minerologist, retired
J. Wallace Gwynn worked briefly for Phelps Dodge Corporation, Amax Magnesium, Great Salt Lake Minerals and Chemicals, and then, after 34 years of service. As a saltines geologist, he retired from the Utah Geological Survey. He started his own consulting business, J. Wallace Gwynn Consulting LLC, in 2009. Dr. Gwynn received his BS in mineralogy/geology in 1965 and his PhD in mineralogy/allied fields in 1970, both from the University of Utah. He became a registered geologist in Utah in 2002. Dr. Gwynn has authored numerous publications on subjects including Utah's Great Salt Lake, Great Salt Lake, a Scientific, Historical, and Economic Overview (1980), and Great Salt Lake, an Overview of Change (2002), both published by the Utah Geological... Read More →
avatar for Karen Nichols

Karen Nichols

Water Resource Engineer, HDR
Karen Nichols has over 25 years, with a focus in public works, involved in design, managing of projects for local, state, and federal governments involving stormwater planning and permitting, watershed planning ,surface waters and Clean Water Act permit compliance. Karen is curre... Read More →
KW

Kidd Waddell

Former USGS Hydrologist, retired
Kidd Waddell was raised in the small town of Roby, Texas where drinking water was scarce and had to be delivered by truck from reservoirs 20-50 miles distant. Consequently, after graduating with BS from Texas Western (now UTEP) in 1962, embarked on a 42 year career with the USGS primarily devoted to water resources. During this career he worked on numerous studies of ground and surface water resources in Nebraska, Texas, and Utah. In 1970, with the opportunity to study the effects of the Southern Pacific Transportation Co causeway on the water and salt balance, he studied fluid dynamics as part of MS in Civil Engineering at the University of Utah. Several additional studies of the Great Salt Lake occurred through out his USGS career resulting in several computer models of the water and salt balance. After retirement from the USGS he had the privilege of assisting the Union Pacific Railroad with designing a new bridge for the Great Salt Lake causeway and Friends of Great Salt Lake with review of a proposed project on Great Salt... Read More →




3:30pm

Lower Jordan River Dissolved Oxygen—Is Additional Flow the Answer?
Lower Jordan River Dissolved Oxygen—Is Additional Flow the Answer?

Summary:
Low concentrations of dissolved oxygen (DO) are a concern in some segments of the Jordan River. The Jordan River Commission and other stakeholders are looking for opportunities to address acute and chronic DO concerns in the lower Jordan River with flow management. Our presentation will provide an update on this effort during the past 3 years.

Full Abstract:
Low concentrations of dissolved oxygen (DO) are a concern in some segments of the Jordan River. The Jordan River Commission and other stakeholders are looking for opportunities to address acute and chronic DO concerns in the lower Jordan River with flow management. In 2014, the Jordan River Commission completed the first phase of a study investigating the use of flow manipulation as a potential mechanism for increasing DO during the late summer season in the Lower Jordan River (LJR). On the basis of data review and QUAL2Kw model output, the report recommended empirical studies to definitively answer two key questions: (1) Is there a defined, positive correlation between flow and DO, and (2) Is there a minimum flow threshold that will support DO levels above chronic conditions in the late summer months? Acting on that recommendation, the Jordan River Commission took steps to implement a flow experiment on the lower Jordan River in 2016/2017. The intent was to manipulate flows and monitor the resulting effects on DO in the problematic reach. Acquiring sufficient water rights has slowed implementation of the study, but significant progress has occurred from discussions with Utah Division of Water Rights and the project could realistically begin in 2018. A recent analysis of historic flow increases (non-storm events) to the LJR have shown high variability and both a positive and negative DO response. However, even small flow increases (< 30 cfs) during late summer and early fall seasons show positive improvements in DO. This experiment is unique in the history of Utah water quality remediation and could lay a foundation for similar work in other watersheds. The experiment goes beyond the simple philosophy of "the solution to pollution is dilution", as many factors and processes combine to influence DO in the Jordan River. Under certain conditions influenced by season, magnitude, and duration, additional flow can produce a negative DO response. Participants attending this session will gain an understanding of historic LJR water rights and how they have evolved to influence existing flow patterns in the river. They will learn about the proposed flow experiment and what challenges remain to implement long-term flow management. They will also learn about DO processes in the Jordan River and the patterns of diel DO recorded at permanent monitoring sites in the LJR from 2012 to the present.

Speakers
avatar for Eric Duffin

Eric Duffin

Watershed Scientist, Cirrus Ecological Solutions
Eric Duffin is experienced in the field of watershed science including hydrology, soil physics, fluvial geomorphology, and computer science. He has been employed at Cirrus Ecological Solutions since 2000. During his professional career, he has managed eight TMDL (water quality) p... Read More →
SS

Soren Simonsen

Executive Director, Jordan River Commission
Soren Simonsen is the Executive Director of the Jordan River Commission. He is an urban planner, architect, educator, community-builder and social entrepreneur. Over the past three decades, including 18 years of public service as an elected and appointed official, he has worked t... Read More →