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Posts from the ‘Water Resources’ Category

Have you seen the new Washington Square Garden?

Salt Lake City’s 18-year old conservation demonstration garden continues to thrive with a new site plan and plants

The Washington Square Water Wise Garden with City and County Building in background.
The Washington Square Water-Wise Garden

This spring, the Salt Lake City Parks Division planted a new garden in Washington Square on the east side of the City-County Building on 200 East between 400 and 500 South.

The bright flowers, colorful foliage, and sweet smells have greeted visitors all summer as they enter the Capital City’s flagship municipal building.

As we wind down the summer season, we thought it’d be fun to highlight the new garden—and take a walk down memory lane to celebrate the original creation of this special space back in 2001.

The First Conservation Garden

It was just before the 2002 Olympics brought the world to Salt Lake City, and this signature outdoor space was re-constructed to demonstrate the City’s commitment to sustainability. At that time, it was one of the first examples in Salt Lake City showcasing how beautiful a low-water garden can be.

At the end of the last century (20th that is), the area to the east of the City-County Building was a mixture of grass, annuals, and asphalt– which, as you can imagine, was more parking-centric and the grass was thirsty.

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Explore the Jordan River Parkway

by SLCgreen intern Atticus Olmedo

From Bear Lake and Antelope Island to Timpanogos and Goblin Valley, Utah is a hotbed for hiking trails and natural excursions. But for many, the Jordan River Parkway doesn’t immediately come to mind as a prime recreational destination. This may be a result of the Parkway’s location, locked between the suburban enclaves and urban centers. But don’t be fooled. People, organizations, and governments have rallied behind the Jordan River Parkway’s potential with a vision for sustainability.

And this month is all about celebrating the Jordan River with a month full of activities. Let’s dig in!

The Jordan River System

Thousands of years ago when Lake Bonneville was receding, the river wound its way through ancient sediments left by the prehistoric lake. Eventually, the river helped establish pond and wetlands. Today, the Jordan River flows approximately 50 miles from Utah Lake north towards the Great Salt Lake’s wetlands. The river is primarily fed from the creeks that travel through the Salt Lake Valley.

The ecology of the river has evolved considerably. Because the river collects water from streams throughout the valley, it also collects pollution and detritus. However, thanks to restoration efforts, the parkway and river have become more hospitable for natural and recreational use.

The river is lined with deciduous oaks, aspens, willows, and cottonwood trees. Invertebrates provide an important source of food for other river species, particularly native carp and trout. Prior to urbanization, coyotes, big-horned sheep, wolves, and mule deer made the river their home. Now, raccoons, red foxes, jackrabbits, and common muskrat can be spotted in the habitat. Birds including magpies, sparrow hawks, and even pheasants are also common.

A bike trail along the parkway

Nature in our Backyards

For the fitness and nature enthusiasts alike, The Jordan River Parkway Trail offers a low-cost fitness and natural excursion option to locals who may not have the means to access far away wildlife areas.

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8 Tips for At-Home Water Conservation

by SLCgreen intern Linda Derhak

The future of our local water systems is a critical issue in Utah. Indeed, although the state was declared drought free early this May, Utah experienced its driest year on record in 2018 — and this summer may be just as scorching.

Utah typically relies on snow melt runoff stored in mountain reservoirs to survive the hot summers. The past few years, however, Utah’s weather has been unpredictable — from receiving one of the worst drought designations in the nation in October to watching for flooding as the snow pack starts to melt.

Although our rivers are bulging and reservoirs are at capacity, there’s no telling how long the good fortune will last. With this in mind, it’s important to remain conscious of our water usage as summer approaches. Luckily, there are many easy ways to conserve water!  

Deer Creek Reservoir

Salt Lake City’s Department of Public Utilities has many resources on their website to help you conserve water. We’ve also put together this handy list:

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Washed Ashore: Art Exhibit at Hogle Zoo Emphasizes Plastic Reduction to Save Our Waterways

by SLCgreen intern Sarah Hogg

Today the Hogle Zoo launches a new animal exhibit, but these animals are a bit different from the rest.

The exhibit’s animals are made up plastic debris washed up on the shore of the Oregon coast. The colorful sculptures make a bold statement about plastic pollution in our oceans and its impact on marine life.

From May 24 to September 30, visitors to Salt Lake City’s Hogle Zoo will come face to face with fifteen sculptures built entirely out of plastic trash. The sculptures are located throughout the zoo grounds. 

Artist and art educator Angela Haseltine Possi created Washed Ashore to raise awareness about the detrimental effects of plastic within the ecosystem. Possi spent many summers on the beaches of Oregon when she was young, which fostered her love of nature. But over time, she noticed the massive amounts of plastic and trash that washed up on the shore. Possi decided to educate herself about plastic pollution and the impact it has on marine life. Her research inspired her to help in the way that she knew how—by creating art.

And so, the Washed Ashore Project was born. Volunteers who work on the Washed Ashore Project join forces to clean up beaches on the Oregon coast, process the debris, and then create the sculptures representing marine life. To this day, over 10,000 volunteers have contributed to this ongoing project.

The exhibit travels across the country to educate viewers about the dangers of plastic waste in our oceans to the marine life, and what they can do to help.

Each of the animals on display represents an animal impacted by marine debris. For example, one of the sculptures is a billowing jellyfish. Hungry sea turtles often mistake plastic bags for jellyfish– a staple in their diet. The mistake can be deadly for the sea turtles. This piece serves to spark conversation about the negative impacts of plastic bags and the importance of reusable alternatives.

Jellyfish sculpture.
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“Leave your Leaves!” This Fall, try mulching your leaves at home

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In the fall, when autumn brings a chill to the air, and Salt Lake’s oaks and elms and other deciduous trees drop their leaves, many of us turn on the blowers, haul out the rakes, and get ready for some serious work.

But—have you considered an alternative?  Using some or all of your leaves to mulch your yard or garden? Read more

Riverfest 2017 is Right Around the Corner!

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Fairpark Trailead: 1220 W North Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 

The Get into the River Festival is a month-long series of community events centered on the Jordan River and Jordan River Parkway.

This Saturday, September 23, the Festival brings together the community, businesses and local governments to celebrate, restore, explore and recreate on the Jordan River corridor.

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Earth Week Day 6: Calculate Your Water Footprint & Reduce It

Water_footprint

GRACE Communications Water Footprint Calculator

While 70% of the earth is covered by water, ultimately about only 1% of that water is available for consumptive purposes such as irrigation, drinking, and bathing to supply a growing population of 7 billion people.

Utah is the second driest state in the nation. We use a lot of water for irrigation – both for commercial farms and for watering our landscapes at home. For the average family, two-thirds or 67% of our total home water use is used outdoors – mostly to irrigate lawns and landscape. Accordingly, finding smarter ways to use and conserve water outside is one of the most effective ways to conserve precious water resources and save money on our monthly water bills.

Follow these steps to reduce your outdoor water use. Read more