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Posts tagged ‘water’

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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Saving Water Through Landscaping this Summer

by Lauren Victor

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In Utah, we are lucky enough to have access to water while living in the middle of a desert. With the climate changing and the Salt Lake City Valley population growing each year, the demand for water from our local Wasatch Mountains is increasing greatly. With the heat setting in quickly this summer, and with record highs predicted, one thing you can do to ease the pressure on the watershed is to conserve water through your landscape.

Conserving water does not mean your lifestyle needs to completely change, just take a look at the tips and links below to find out ways you can save water without losing the aesthetic of your garden!

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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

Mayor Jackie Biskupski signs amicus brief in defense of President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan

Today, Mayor Jackie Biskupski joined more than 50 city and county governments from 28 states in signing an amicus brief in defense of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan.

“I signed this brief on behalf of Salt Lake City because the effects of climate change are real, but so are the solutions,” said Mayor Biskupski. “The EPA estimates that the Clean Power Plan will reduce the pollutants that contribute to smog by more than 25 percent, a change that will benefit everyone along the Wasatch Front, especially during our increasingly dangerous winter inversion season.”

The brief, filed in federal court today, argues the administration’s plan is critical to the safety and economic security of local communities across the United States. Signatories of the brief represent a diverse geographic, economic, and political mix. In all, the signatories represent 51 localities, home to more than 18 million Americans.

“Climate change challenges our very way of life in Salt Lake City. Increasing temperatures and a shorter winter season are resulting in less snow, threatening not only our billion dollar ski industry, but the water we need to keep up with our population growth,” said Mayor Biskupski. “My administration is committed to strengthening our actions in cleaning our air. This week I asked our city’s Department of Sustainability to work with mayors and cities across the Wasatch Front to provide any resources we can to help them join this fight.”

The full brief is available here: http://web.law.columbia.edu/climate-change/clean-power-plan-amicus-brief

Local Students Encourage Water Conservation

At SLCgreen, we strive to inform residents about the actions they can take every day to reduce their impact on the environment and have a positive impact on our community.

And we absolutely love it when we get a little help!

As a project for their 7th grade ELP Utah Studies class, West High School students McKenzie Shaffer-Kay and Ella Beck have created a website that focuses on the facts of water conservation in Utah. The website also highlights the actions people can take at home to reduce their water use, save money and preserve this value resource.

Nice work, McKenzie and Ella!

Check out UtahWaterConservation.weebly.com.

waterdroplet

The University of Utah Explores Society, Water and Climate

The Utah College of Social and Behavioral Science hosted an intriguing breakfast presentation last Friday at the Red Butte Garden Classroom on the topics of Society, Water, and Climate.

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Drs. Rick Forster and Andrea Brunelle. Photo credit: Annette Barrett, University of Utah.

Drs. Rick Forster, Associate Dean for Research in the College of Social and Behavioral Science, and Andrea Brunelle, Geography Chair, presented on the University of Utah’s new interdisciplinary faculty cluster, an effort to focus research and use a multifaceted approach to addressing challenges related to society, water, and climate. The new faculty cluster includes an ecohydrologist, an air quality scientist and a glaciologist. The addition of a social or behavioral scientist is forthcoming. “This transformative cluster connects research on hydrology, air quality, climate change, societal response, and policy, seeking to meld multiple scientific perspectives to lead society towards sustainable water solutions in a changing world.” (Society, Water, and Climate)

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Dr. Rick Forster and Tyler Poulson, SLCgreen Photo credit: Annette Barrett, University of Utah.

Drs. Rick Forster and Andrea Brunelle also shared experiences and some great photos from their own field-based research.  Dr. Forster studies glaciers and seasonal snow cover response to climate change. He showed some incredible footage of dripping water, despite air temperatures well below freezing, found when ice cores were lifted to the surface at a research site in Greenland.  The water had come from a perennial aquifer under Greenland’s Ice Sheet.

“Climate change will bring increased temperatures combined with likely increases in the severity, frequency, and duration of weather extremes, such as droughts and floods. Changes in water availability due to climate change will be further complicated by use of water for agriculture, changes in land use, and population growth. In many regions of the world, issues centered on climate change and water availability will profoundly shape society in the next century. Addressing these issues requires a focused, transdisciplinary effort from scientists with expertise in society, water and climate.” (The Theoretical Framework of the Society, Water and Climate Research Cluster)

This collaborative approach is an important piece in finding sustainable solutions to issues of society, water, and climate in the future.