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Welcome to the event schedule and directory for the 13th Annual Salt Lake County Watershed Symposium, November 20-21, 2019. Free and open to all, the Symposium encourages a comprehensive review of the current state of our watershed while creating learning and networking opportunities for a broad array of stakeholders. Sessions cover 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.

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Thursday, November 21 • 8:40am - 9:35am
PANEL Playing With Fire: Climate, Forest and Watershed Health

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Playing With Fire: Climate, Forest and Watershed Health

Summary:
We've built and modified landscapes and forests, altering natural processes in deference to other values, regardless of intention. In suppressing fire however, we've effectively eliminated the predator that keeps our forests healthy, stymieing natural selection. In the absence of fire what tools do we have to help restore forests and watersheds?

Full Abstract:
Mother Nature knows how to take care of herself, that is, until we start tinkering. And tinker we have - for generations, we have suppressed fire, something that we've been taught to fear, something that threatens human values. We've built and modified landscapes and forests, altering natural processes in deference to other values, regardless of intention. In suppressing fire however, we've effectively eliminated the predator that keeps our forests healthy, stymieing natural selection. We've also eliminated the catalyst that spurs regeneration of forests. Aging trees and invasive species are exacerbating tree mortality. Underbrush is overgrown, tree densities are too thick, conifers are crowding out aspen stands. Climate change is enhancing the extremes of wet and dry, cold and hot. Catastrophic wildfires due to build up of fuels, development and poor forest conditions are breaking out across the west. Healthy forests play a critical role in having a healthy watershed. Is it possible to invite Mother Nature's processes back into our community? What choices are we facing in dealing with the challenges we are facing?

This panel will feature Laura Briefer, Director of Salt Lake City Dept. of Public Utilities, Bekee Hotze, District Ranger, Salt Lake Ranger District of the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, and Brian Trick, Wasatch Front Area Manager, Utah Dept. of Natural Resources, Forestry Fire and State Lands.The conversation will be moderated by Carl Fisher, Executive Director of Save Our Canyons.

While this is a complex issue, our goal is to ignite a conversation around the health of our forests and protecting water quality, exploring what the role of fire is in our landscape. In the absence of fire, what alternatives to restoring healthy forests, habitat and watersheds will we be faced with?

Moderators
CF

Carl Fisher

Executive Director, Save Our Canyons
Carl Fisher is the executive director of Save Our Canyons, an organization working to protect the wildness and beauty of the Wasatch Mountains. He graduated from the University of Utah with a BS in geography and environmental studies.  He has served on the panels to update and revise... 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 where she has worked for 10 years in various areas of the organization and has 23 years professional experience in natural resource and environmental professions in the public, private, and non-profit sectors... Read More →
avatar for Bekee Hotze

Bekee Hotze

Distric Ranger, Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest
Bekee Hotze is the District Ranger for the Salt Lake Ranger District, Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. She graduated from Northland College with a bachelor’s degree in biology. She worked for Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission in fisheries and the Wisconsin DNR... Read More →
avatar for Brian Trick

Brian Trick

Wasatch Front Area Manager, Forestry, Fire, and State Lands
Brian Trick is the Wasatch Front Area Manager for the Utah DNR, Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands. He graduated from the University of Utah with a BS in political science and economics in 2011. He received his Master of Forestry from Oregon State University in 2017. Brian... Read More →



Attendees (50)