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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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Wednesday, November 20
 

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
Welcome to the 13th Annual Watershed Symposium!

8:40am

KEYNOTE From the Bottom of the Barrel: How Great Salt Lake Can Teach Us About Our Watershed
KEYNOTE  
From the Bottom of the Barrel: How Great Salt Lake Can Teach Us About Our Watershed

Great Salt Lake, weird and misunderstood, is the bottom of our watershed. Salts concentrate from the watershed and our actions are compounded over time in this lake that is home to immense amounts of wildlife and is an important part of our human ecosystem and economy. The lake can teach about all levels of our watershed and how we can work together to maintain our incredible places.

Speakers
avatar for Jaimi Butler

Jaimi Butler

Coordinator, Great Salt Lake Institute at Westminster College
Jaimi Butler is the coordinator of the Great Salt Lake Institute, housed at Westminster College. Despite the Great Salt Lakes’ reputation for being inhospitable, Jaimi fell in love with the lake and made it her place. After graduating with her Fisheries and Wildlife degree from... Read More →



9:15am

PFAS: More Than a Mouthful
PFAS: More Than a Mouthful

Summary:
Per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) have unique properties and are used in many consumer products. Most people in the U.S. have PFAS in their body. The Utah Department of Environmental Quality will discuss the ongoing investigations of potential PFAS contamination in Utah.

Full Abstract:
Per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) are more than just hard to say. This group of more than 3,000 man-made substances has unique and useful properties. Because of their properties, they are used in many consumer products and industrial processes. A well-known PFAS product is Teflon. However, after human blood samples indicated widespread exposure to general population, manufacturing of 2 specific types of PFAS, PFOA and PFOS, ceased in the U.S. While exposures to the general population have decreased since manufacturing ceased, most of the general population are still being exposed via consumer products. Additionally, analytical methods are only available for a limited number of PFAS. In other states, drinking water, fish, and milk have been contaminated near PFAS manufacturing facilities or where large quantities of PFAS were released. The Utah Department of Environmental Quality is currently investigating the potential for environmental PFAS contamination in Utah. After a general introduction to PFAS, the current status of the ongoing Utah investigations will be presented.

Speakers
avatar for Chris Bittner

Chris Bittner

Standards Coordinator, Utah Division of Water Quality
Mr. Bittner is an environmental toxicologist and the water quality standards coordinator
BB

Ben Brown

Monitoring Section Manager, Utah Division of Water Quality Monitoring Section
Mr. Brown is



9:15am

Utah Water Banking Concept: Looking to the Future
Utah Water Banking Concept: Looking to the Future

Summary:
In Utah water banking could be used to meet a number of growing water demands such as maintaining a thriving agricultural community, in-stream flows for environmental and water quality, and growing municipal demand. Please come and discuss an exciting new stakeholder driven Utah water banking concept.

Full Abstract:
Water banking is a water management tool that has been employed across the west to facilitate more efficient water marketing of water rights. In Utah, water banking could be used to meet a number of growing water demands, such as maintaining a thriving agricultural community, in-stream flows for environmental and water quality and growing municipal demand.

For the last three years, a large stakeholder working group has been designing a Utah specific water banking legislation and demonstration projects. The Utah water banking concept focuses on providing a framework for local water users to design a local water bank to meet local water needs. This concept focuses on creating voluntary local banks that facilitate the temporary transfer of the use of water rights. The intent is to create and promote a transparent forum where water users can more easily connect with each other to enter leasing or other temporary arrangements for the use of water.

The Utah water banking legislation addresses several existing barriers to water marketing and provides incentives for water users to organize and operate a local water bank. For example, the legislation provides that water rights banked in a water bank are exempt from traditional requirements that the water be beneficially used (i.e. it is exempt from forfeiture), can be used for environmental and in-stream flow purposes, and provides additional authority to existing water banking-like contracts. The legislation is intended to work off and incorporate existing laws. Using existing laws creates trust in the water banking concept and provides a level of certainty and security to protect bank users. For example, for a water right to be placed in the bank, it must go through the existing Change Application process, which vets water rights for validity and provides a public protest opportunity.

The legislation accomplishes the working group’s goals by creating a very specific process and framework for local water users to set up and establish a water bank. The form, function and scale of the bank are to be determined by the local water users. However, to become a bank, local water users must submit an application to the Board of Water Resources. The water banking legislation includes criteria local water users must consider and include in their application prior to submittal. This criteria includes considerations like form of entity, governance structure, pricing scheme, bank service area and internal policies and practices. There is also an option for public entities to apply to have an existing or new contract for water use or distribution constitute a water bank and receive water banking benefits like in-stream flow designations.

To test the water banking concept the Division of Water Resources has received a $400,000 appropriation from the Utah State Legislation and has applied for an additional $400,000 WaterSMART Water Marking Grant. This money will be used to assist three “Demonstration Project” areas that establish pilot water banks in their area. The three Demonstration Projects will be in Snyderville Basin, Price area, and Cache Valley area.

The Utah water banking concept presents an exciting opportunity for Utah to explore creative methods to simultaneously use its water more effectively and meet pressing water needs and demands.

Speakers
EL

Emily Lewis

Attorney, Clyde Snow & Sessions
Emily E. Lewis is an attorney at the law firm of Clyde Snow & Sessions in Salt Lake City. Ms. Lewis focuses her practice primarily on water law and works with both individual rural water users and organized water entities to settle or litigate complex water disputes. She is an adjunct... Read More →
CH

Candice Hasenyager

Assistant Director of the Planning Branch, Utah Division of Water Resources
Ms. Hasenyager is a dedicated public servant working in the water resources field.
NB

Nathan Bracken

Attorney, Smith Hartvigsen
Nathan Bracken is a respected local water law attorney.



9:55am

Bugs, Bacteria, and Channel Stability: SLCo Watershed Data Collection
Bugs, Bacteria, and Channel Stability: SLCo Watershed Data Collection

Since 2011 SLCO Watershed Planning and Restoration Program (WPRP) has been collecting data to look at water quality in the streams and rivers of Salt Lake County. In the following years WPRP has been built up to collect bacteria and field chemistry monthly, macroinvertebrate data annually, and channel stability data from the Jordan River and all its major tributaries. This presentation aims to explain the purpose and specifics of these data collection methods, the obstacles encountered along the way, and the potential use of this information. 

Speakers
avatar for Samuel Taylor

Samuel Taylor

Watershed Scientist/Planner, Salt Lake County Watershed Planning and Restoration Program
Sam has worked with Salt Lake County since 2015 starting in the stream gauging program and moving to the watershed section in 2017. He oversees ongoing data collection efforts and special projects related to water quality.



9:55am

WASP Historical Simulations Over the Jordan River Under Climate Change
WASP Historical Simulations Over the Jordan River Under Climate Change

Summary:
This study analyzes the performance of the Jordan River, UT, through the Water Quality Assessment Simulation Program (WASP) under climate change scenario RCP 6.0 through a historical timeframe from October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2009, suggesting linkages among climate change and water quality followed by implications under futuristic conditions.

Full Abstract:
Assessing climate change characteristics upon the performance of watersheds appears as one fundamental topic subject to extensive research, suggesting potential effects upon water quality characteristics. For instance, climate change characteristics have been suggested to increase the likelihood of watershed impairment, potentially due to changes in runoff patterns followed by nutrient loadings into the system. Such water quality impairment present significant concerns toward evaluating the effects upon the environmental, societal, and hydrologic characteristics, along with developing potential remedies (e.g., nutrient allocation studies, Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) studies, etc.). For this exercise, simulations are conducted upon a river system through the Water Quality Assessment Simulation Program (WASP), implementing climate change characteristics described through the Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs). Such simulations have been conducted upon the Jordan River, UT, an approximate 83-km, 51-mile reach with portions that have been indicated as impaired for low dissolved oxygen levels, potentially due to elevated water temperatures under low-flow conditions during the summer times. At the same time, such simulations over the Jordan River are implemented under a historical time frame, from October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2009, employing dynamically-downscaled climate data provided by the University of Utah’s Department of Atmospheric Sciences for applying climate projection RCP 6.0 toward yielding a radiative forcing of 6.0 watts per square meter. Then, the performance of the Jordan River simulations under RCP 6.0 climate data is compared against the model simulations under historical, observed climate data toward suggesting potential linkages among climate change and water quality. Such analyses provide insight toward determining the effects of climate change upon system performance, suggesting implications upon futuristic characteristics that tends to suggest elevated temperatures, increased levels of runoff and pollutant loadings, and hence potentially increased likelihood of system impairment.

Speakers
JS

Juhn-Yuan Su

Ph.D. Student, University of Utah
Juhn-Yuan Su began his Ph.D. Career/Research at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Utah in June 2016 under the supervision of Dr. Michael E. Barber. He has earned his Bachelor’s of Science (B.S.) in Civil Engineering from the University of... Read More →



10:25am

Break and snacks
Look for the "big ticket" signs for places to get raffle tickets!  By visiting exhibitor tables, and more. Prizes will be raffled off during the afternoon break.

10:50am

Linkages Between the Great Salt Lake and Air Quality
Linkages Between the Great Salt Lake and Air Quality

Summary:
History shows how climate change, drought, & water diversion quickly reduce once thriving lake ecosystems to a fraction of their former sizes. Entire ecosystems were disrupted, economies threatened, new pollution sources (i.e., dust plumes) created, & local populations suffered. The Great Salt Lake (GSL) is on track to suffer a similar fate.

Full Abstract:
History has shown that the combination of climate change, drought, and water diversion can quickly reduce once thriving lake ecosystems to a fraction of their former sizes (e.g., the Aral Sea, Owens Lake, and the Dead Sea). As these water bodies dried up, entire ecosystems were disrupted, industries were shuttered, economies were threatened, new pollution sources (i.e., dust plumes) were created, and local populations suffered. The Great Salt Lake (GSL) is on track to suffer a similar fate due to a combination of water diversion and drought. As the lake has receded, it has exposed more than 757 mi2 of playa. Dust plumes emanating from the playa now frequently degrade local air quality, potentially impacting the health of more than 2 million adjacent residents. A two-year study was recently completed to: 1) Determine which areas of the GSL playa currently act as dust source regions. 2) Determine how fluctuating lake levels might impact future dust production. 3) Determine if the PM10 soil fraction of the GSL playa contains potentially hazardous heavy metals. To accomplish these goals, a systematic survey of the entire GSL playa was conducted between June 2016 and August 2018 using a bicycle/trailer system. Incremental Sampling Methodology protocols were used to ensure that soil samples and in situ observations of surface crust/vegetation conditions were representative. A total of 5246 soil samples and surface crust/vegetation observations were collected/made using a GPS-derived grid system with a nominal horizontal resolution of 500m. Active GSL dust “hot spots” were identified as locations which had little or no vegetation, had either no surface crust or an erodible shallow crust, and where visible plumes of fine particulate matter could be generated by manually disturbing the surface. Dust “hot spots” matching these criteria were identified in all four quadrants of the GSL playa and comprised ~11% of the total exposed lakebed. Dust “hot spot” locations were then combined with a digital elevation model to determine their elevation distribution. This analysis revealed that the number of dust “hot spots” is linearly dependent upon the GSL elevation with slopes ranging from 6% to 13% per foot. The soil samples were composited into 122 samples which were subsequently dried and sieved. The PM10 fraction was analyzed using Inductively-Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry and Synchrotron X-ray Fluorescence to provide mass fractions for 54 elements. These results were then compared to the Regional Screening Levels established by the US Environmental Protection Agency to determine whether any of the elements might pose a risk to adjacent populations. Arsenic was the only heavy metal for which every measurement exceeded the RSLs for residential and industrial exposures. As a result, a site-specific exposure assessment should to be completed to determine if arsenic exposure poses an actual threat to human health. Learning Objectives: - Current and future water diversions of the GSL pose serious risks to maintaining water levels. - Potential impacts from a dried up GSL on residents along the Wasatch Front. - Understanding of the connections between snowpack, rivers, lakes, land, and air quality.

Speakers
KP

Kevin Perry

Associate Professor in Dep. of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Utah
Dr. Perry is an Associate Professor in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Utah and served as Chair of the Department from 2011-2018. He holds a B.S. degree in meteorology from Iowa State University and a Ph.D. degree in Atmospheric Sciences from the University... Read More →
avatar for Jon Carter

Jon Carter

Campaign Director, Utah Rivers Council
Jon Carter is the Campaign Director for Utah Rivers Council, a 501.c3 not-for-profit organization based in Salt Lake City. He holds a B.A. in Business Administration with an emphasis on sustainability in organizations. Jon recently ran the Utah environmental program for Patagonia... Read More →



11:30am

Why Can't I Plant Trees on the Surplus Levee?
Why Can't I Plant Trees on the Surplus Levee?

Summary:
Overview of Salt Lake County Flood Control program and discussion of our largest project, the Jordan River Surplus Canal Levees.

Full Abstract:
Overview of Salt Lake County Flood Control program and discussion of our largest project, the Jordan River Surplus Canal Levees. The Surplus Levees are an important component of Salt Lake County’s Flood Control program. The levees were constructed in 1959 by the United States Army Corps of Engineers; Salt Lake County is the local sponsor partner. The system includes approximately 18 miles of levees. Salt Lake County Flood Control is currently working through a Levee Rehabilitation Project. Levee encroachments including utilities, residential and commercial development, and public infrastructure that are not permitted need to be resolved. This project involves coordinating with not only the USACE but many local government and private agencies. Salt Lake County is also acquiring right-of-way along most of the levee length. This presentation will cover what we have learned, what we are currently working on, and our plans to complete the rehabilitation project.

Speakers
LA

Lizel Allen

Associate Director, Salt Lake County Flood Control
Lizel has more than 15 years of professional experience and is currently the Associate Director for Salt Lake County Flood Control Engineering. Ms. Allen specializes in water resource engineering for flood protection, stormwater drainage, and public infrastructure projects; planning... Read More →



11:30am

Modeling Fire-Induced Changes to River Status Flow With Deep Learning
Modeling Fire-Induced Changes to River Status Flow With Deep Learning

Summary:
The potential effect of wildfire on Utah’s rivers is poorly understood. Because fires are becoming more frequent and severe, understanding their effect on river “status flow” will be an important component of Utah’s future water security. Using deep learning, we developed a powerful model for predicting flow/fire relationships.

Full Abstract:
Watershed disturbances such as wildfire can fundamentally alter water flow and water chemistry, affecting downstream ecosystems and societies. Predicting the response of streamflow to wildfire is difficult but increasingly urgent in the western U.S. given the observed increases in wildfire frequency, uncertainty in precipitation, and growing human water demand. Much of the difficulty in stream-flow prediction arises not from a lack of data (flow and geological data are available for thousands of catchments), but from a lack of capacity to extract information from these data that is socioecologically relevant. Mechanistic modelling of streamflow-wildfire response based on catchment characteristics has only been partially successful because of substantial variation in catchment characteristics including geological features deep below the surface, fire-induced biological changes on the surface, and meteorological variability. Recent advances in machine learning, particularly in Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs) may have opened the door for capturing this complexity. ANNs are a special type of machine learning algorithm inspired by human learning. In an ANN, groups of artificial neurons interact and learn together, eventually allowing the network to perform tasks that would otherwise be impossible for a computer. The structure of neurons in an ANN allows it to abstract information from complex signals and explore interactions between sub-features, potentially allowing prediction of ecologically complex phenomena such as wildfire-flow response. Here, we used an ANN to analyze USGS flow data from over 4,000 watersheds in the contiguous US, 600 of which experienced a wildfire in the past 30 years. This ANN was able to predict alterations to the “status flow” (i.e. flow characteristics of flow regime) of streams affected by fire, including modification of the amount and timing of flow as well as timeframes of recovery following wildfire. We explore how this machine learning approach could usher in a new status quo in extracting maximum information from flow stations and predicting response of western watersheds to wildfire. Data-driven models that more accurately represent likely scenarios can help ensure water security for Utah’s communities in the face of rapidly accelerating changes in climate, fire frequency, land use, and resource scarcity.

Speakers
BB

Brian Brown

Master's Student, Brigham Young Uniersity
Brian Brown is a Master’s student in Environmental Science at Brigham Young University, working in the labs of Dr. Benjamin Abbott and Dr. Samuel St. Clair. He received a Bachelors of Science in Bioinformatics, a degree that focuses on computer-assisted biological research, from... Read More →



12:00pm

1:00pm

N vs P: Nutrient Limitation of Harmful Algal Blooms on Utah Lake
N vs P: Nutrient Limitation of Harmful Algal Blooms on Utah Lake

Summary:
Utah Lake is naturally high in nutrients, but there is potential for nutrient pollution to exacerbate toxic harmful algal blooms. In July, we used bioassays to test nutrient limitation and found chlorophyll, a surrogate of algal growth, was highest in treatments with both nitrogen and phosphorus added, compared to control and N or P individually.

Full Abstract:
Water bodies across the Wasatch Front are experiencing harmful algal and cyanobacterial blooms, possibly with greater frequency and severity due to anthropogenic inputs of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P). These blooms pose a threat to food and water security and human health due to cyanotoxin production. Utah Lake is a shallow, hypereutrophic lake garnering recent public attention for repeated advisories and closures due to cyanobacterial blooms. Its naturally P-rich sediments combined with cyanobacteria’s ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen have brought into question the need for management of external anthropogenic nutrient inputs. To quantify the effects of additional nutrients on algal growth, we are conducting seasonal bioassay experiments across three different lake locations to capture the spatial component of blooms (i.e., West Side, East Side, Provo Bay). We are testing four nutrient treatments: N, P, N+P, and a control added at a 16:1 ratio of DIN:SRP that reflect the new EPA limitations of P in wastewater effluent. We measured a suite of indicators to identify responses in bloom physiology, including cyanotoxin concentrations. In July, N+P additions in Provo Bay waters during a bloom, and to a lesser extent N additions in east-side waters, induced photosynthetic growth measured as higher levels of chlorophyll and volatile suspended solids concentration than the other treatments. Microcystis loosely related to blooms induced by N+P and anatoxin-a related to N additions. To date, our results indicate a N and P co-limitation and potential N limitations elicits summer blooms. as a possible mechanism affecting bloom growth and attenuation. In the future, we are conducting bioassays throughout the summer, fall and spring; conducting nutrient dilution treatments; and manipulating grazer density. Our results will help policy makers select ecologically-relevant water quality standards for Utah Lake.

Speakers
avatar for Erin Jones

Erin Jones

Graduate Researcher, Brigham Young University
Erin is a PhD candidate at BYU in environmental sciences. Her research interests include aquatic microbial ecology, limnology, urban water quality, science education, and public outreach.
GL

Gabriella Lawson

Graduate researcher, Brigham Young University
Gabbii is a Master's student at Brigham Young University in Environmental Sciences.



1:00pm

Planting SEEds for Water Education: Using the New UT Science Standards
Planting SEEds for Water Education: Using the New UT Science Standards

Summary:
Curious about what the new Science with Engineering Education Standards (SEEd) may mean for your education programs? Join USEE & GSLI to Join us to focus on phenomena, dive in to the three-dimensions of science learning and discover how to be a "guide on the side" to help students engage in the practice of science.

Full Abstract:
This year, the Utah State Board of Education adopted new standards, the Science with Engineering Education (SEEd) standards for K-5th and secondary education. These new standards will be implemented starting next school year. This follows the adoption and implementation of SEEd for 6-8th grade last school year. Why does it matter? If you conduct outreach or education programs for K-12th grade it's time to update and revise your programs. There have been two main shifts in science content for K-12th grade. 1) Content areas have shifted between grades, and 2) The practice of science teaching and learning will change to adapt to these standards, modeled after the Next Generation Science Standards. We know that teachers will need help addressing these new standards and there is no better way to do this than by working with community organizations and agencies to provide students with hands-on experiences in the practice of science. Join us to dig into what this means for outreach providers: focus on phenomena, dive in to the three-dimensions of science learning and discover how to be a "guide on the side" to help students engage in the practice of science. The Utah Society for Environmental Education will share more about the new standards and the Great Salt Lake Institute will demonstrate what it looks like to develop a program that addresses SEEd. Participants will receive resources from USEE and GSLI that they can use to help inform the development of educational programming.

Speakers
avatar for Alex Porpora

Alex Porpora

Executive Director, Utah Society for Environmental Education
Alex is the Executive Director of the Utah Society for Environmental Education, the Utah Affiliate of the North American Association for Environmental Education. She serves on the Affiliate Network Steering Committee.
avatar for Jaimi Butler

Jaimi Butler

Coordinator, Great Salt Lake Institute at Westminster College
Jaimi Butler is the coordinator of the Great Salt Lake Institute, housed at Westminster College. Despite the Great Salt Lakes’ reputation for being inhospitable, Jaimi fell in love with the lake and made it her place. After graduating with her Fisheries and Wildlife degree from... Read More →



1:40pm

Taking the "Risk" Out of Risk Communication
Taking the "Risk" Out of Risk Communication

Summary:
Effective risk communication improves interactions with the public during a pollution event. In this session, participants will learn how to communicate risk to the public; collaborate with agencies and stakeholders before, during and after an event; work with the media; and foster two-way conversations with affected publics.

Full Abstract:
Members of the public aren't always aware of the important role healthy watersheds play in their lives until their water source is threatened by an unexpected spill or contamination event. While most agencies and programs have communications experts who can explain the situation to concerned residents, it's the subject matter experts who are often called on to speak with reporters and provide answers to complex questions. In this session, watershed managers, staff, and scientists will learn how to effectively communicate risk to the public; collaborate with sister agencies and stakeholders before, during and after an event; work with the media; and foster two-way conversations with affected residents. Participants will learn: 1. How to communicate risk effectively using real-world examples of effective and ineffective responses to high-profile issues 2. How to develop a simple risk communication plan before an event occurs 3. How to craft messages that resonate with people and address fear and uncertainty during an incident 4. How to respond to community concerns with a combination of empathy and solid scientific information 5. How to apply the Seven Cardinal Rules of Risk Communication Session participants will receive a two-page risk communication template they can adapt to their particular needs and situations. The presenter will offer follow-up opportunities to discuss specific issues with participants after the symposium.

Speakers
avatar for Christine Osborne

Christine Osborne

Content Strategist/Communication Specialist, Utah Department of Environmental Quality
I am a Content Strategist/Communications and NEPA Specialist with the Utah Department of Environmental Quality. A communicator by trade, I am a scientist at heart. I enjoy translating complex scientific information into narratives for webpages, fact sheets, reports, and op-eds that... Read More →



1:40pm

Using Citizen Science to Locate Nutrient Sources to Utah Lake
Using Citizen Science to Locate Nutrient Sources to Utah Lake

Summary:
Harmful algal blooms on Utah Lake have raised the question: where do the nutrients in Utah Lake come from? We used citizen science to sample hundreds of points in the watershed three times a year, allowing us to determine where solutes are coming from and the consistency of their sources.

Full Abstract:
Anthropogenic inputs of N and P have led to eutrophication of water bodies around the world, intensifying water resource scarcity. While removing point sources has been largely effective, persistence of non-point sources has delayed or negated gains in water quality in many instances. Recent studies have shown that spatial variability of stream chemistry may not be as unpredictable as previously thought, suggesting that periodic sampling of many locations in a stream network (i.e. synoptic sampling) could identify non-point nutrient sources and quantify nutrient retention capacity. Here, we conducted a large participatory science project to synoptically sample Utah Lake’s tributaries. Utah Lake is a large, shallow, eutrophic lake that has been listed as impaired for phosphorus and total dissolved solids, but disagreements exist about the source of solutes entering the lake. We collaborated with members of the public to sample ~200 points across the 2,950 km2 Utah Lake watershed three times during 2018 (March, July, and October). We calculated spatial stability, a metric of the consistency of patterns in concentrations, and temporal synchrony for a suite of stream solutes, including phosphate, nitrate, DOC, and sulfate. We used these data to calculate a distributed mass balance of solutes throughout the watershed, quantifying how much leverage each subwatershed exerted on the overall catchment load. Solute concentrations showed extreme variation across the watersheds, attributable to differences in land use and natural catchment characteristics. For example, median phosphate concentration was 0.011 mg P/L but it ranged from 0.0015 to 0.62 mg P/L. Likewise, nitrate concentration spanned 5 orders of magnitude (0.0007 to 28 mg N/L), with a median concentration of 0.14 mg N/L. Nitrate concentration was highest in canals and point sources within Utah Valley. Chloride had high spatial stability (0.8 spearman rank correlation, SR), but soluble reactive phosphorus (the most bioavailable form of phosphorus) had low spatial stability (0.3 SR), suggesting substantial seasonal or event-level change through time. Nitrate had intermediate spatial stability (0.5 SR). The low spatial stability of phosphorus compared with other solutes could be due to two non-exclusive phenomena: 1. non-geologic sources of phosphate that are more spatially variable than weathering could be dominant and 2. biological processes could alternatively increase or decrease phosphate based on nutrient demand across space and time. We conclude that citizen science can generate insight into catchment chemistry and hydrologic processes while also increasing community connection with the watershed.

Speakers
avatar for Erin Jones

Erin Jones

Graduate Researcher, Brigham Young University
Erin is a PhD candidate at BYU in environmental sciences. Her research interests include aquatic microbial ecology, limnology, urban water quality, science education, and public outreach.



2:10pm

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 out the Poster Abstracts.

Posters
AC

Adam Culbertson

Student, Salt Lake Community College
My name is Adam Culbertson and I am 21 years old. I am currently enrolled at the Salt Lake City Community College​ and plan to transfer to the University of Utah and finish my schooling. I am studying Environmental Geo-sciences and am also extremely interested in Environmental sustainability... Read More →
avatar for Anne Terry

Anne Terry

Manager of the Jordan River Nature Center, Tracy Aviary
Anne Terry is the Nature Center Manager at Tracy Aviary. She got her start in environmental education by volunteering at a zoo in Texas at the age of thirteen and quickly realized it was the field for her. She has a B.S. in Biology from the University of Texas. An internship with... Read More →
BB

Brian Brown

Master's Student, Brigham Young Uniersity
Brian Brown is a Master’s student in Environmental Science at Brigham Young University, working in the labs of Dr. Benjamin Abbott and Dr. Samuel St. Clair. He received a Bachelors of Science in Bioinformatics, a degree that focuses on computer-assisted biological research, from... Read More →
CH

Chad Husband

Research Assistant, Westminster College
Currently a junior biology student and Westminster College.
avatar for Chloe Fender

Chloe Fender

Research Assistant, Westminster College
I am currently a senior at Westminster College. I have been studying biology and hope to pursue a graduate degree in environmental toxicology in the coming years.
avatar for Hannah Murphy

Hannah Murphy

Hydrologic Technician, Salt Lake County Watershed Planning and Restoration
Hannah works as a Hydrologic Technician for the county maintaining stream and rain gauges throughout the valley. Other time is spent taking stream flow measurements and collecting water quality samples. When she isn't working, Hannah enjoys most of her time outside trail running... Read More →
JT

Jake Tallman

Undergraduate Research Technician, Westminster College
Jake Tallman is currently in his last year at Westminster College and will be graduating in the Spring of 2020. His goal is to attend the University of Utah's medical school in order to become a physician. After spending his entire life on the Oregon Coast and the lakes of Idaho... Read More →
avatar for Jennifer Follstad Shah

Jennifer Follstad Shah

Assistant Professor, University of Utah
Jennifer Follstad Shah is an Assistant Professor (Lecturer) in the Environmental and Sustainability Studies (ENVST) Program and a Research Assistant Professor in Geography at the University of Utah. She also is an affiliate member of the Global Change and Sustainability Center (GCSC... Read More →
avatar for Jon Carter

Jon Carter

Campaign Director, Utah Rivers Council
Jon Carter is the Campaign Director for Utah Rivers Council, a 501.c3 not-for-profit organization based in Salt Lake City. He holds a B.A. in Business Administration with an emphasis on sustainability in organizations. Jon recently ran the Utah environmental program for Patagonia... Read More →
JS

Juhn-Yuan Su

Ph.D. Student, University of Utah
Juhn-Yuan Su began his Ph.D. Career/Research at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Utah in June 2016 under the supervision of Dr. Michael E. Barber. He has earned his Bachelor’s of Science (B.S.) in Civil Engineering from the University of... Read More →
avatar for Kate Kohut

Kate Kohut

Naturalist, Tracy Aviary
Kate Kohut is an ecologist and avid birder currently working as a Naturalist at Tracy Aviary. She got her B.S in wildlife conservation biology from the University of Rhode Island, and worked for Audubon New York after college as an environmental educator and outreach science communicator... Read More →
KP

Kevin Perry

Associate Professor in Dep. of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Utah
Dr. Perry is an Associate Professor in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Utah and served as Chair of the Department from 2011-2018. He holds a B.S. degree in meteorology from Iowa State University and a Ph.D. degree in Atmospheric Sciences from the University... Read More →
LP

Leika Patch

Data Manager, Brigham Young University
Leika Patch (pronounced lake- uh) is 4th year undergraduate at BYU studying Environmental Science, and minoring in Philosophy. She is interested in human influence on the natural world, stewardship, and sustainability with special interest in the field of water quality and ecology... Read More →
avatar for Madeleine Malmfeldt

Madeleine Malmfeldt

Research Assistant, Brigham Young University
Environmental Science master's student at Brigham Young University.
avatar for Madeline McLaughlin

Madeline McLaughlin

Masters Student, Brigham Young University
Masters student at Brigham Young University. Received undergraduate degree in genetics, genomics and biotechnology at BYU.
avatar for Mohammad Hasan

Mohammad Hasan

Graduate Research Assistant (Ph.D. Student), University of Utah
Mohammad Hasan began his Ph.D. Career/Research at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Utah in Spring 2017 semester under the supervision of Dr. Michael E. Barber. He has earned his Bachelor’s of Science (B.S.) in Civil Engineering from Bangladesh... Read More →
NV

Nicholas von Stackelberg

Environmental Engineer, Utah Department of Environmental Quality
Nicholas von Stackelberg is an environmental engineer with the Utah Department of Environmental Quality. Nicholas has worked on water resources and water quality projects for twenty-five years with several consulting firms and governmental agencies in Seattle and Salt Lake City. In... Read More →



2:40pm

Habitat and River Restoration at the Big Bend Nature Park
Habitat and River Restoration at the Big Bend Nature Park

Summary:
The Big Bend Nature Park is a restoration project on the Jordan River that provides natural habitat in an urban environment. This presentation will provide an update on the Community Science-based monitoring and stewardship program that is being developed to assess the restoration of ecological services and inform adaptive management decisions.

Full Abstract:
The Big Bend Nature Park led by the City of West Jordan is one of roughly 30 restoration projects along the Jordan River which ranges from small wetland restoration projects to large landscape sized projects such as the Legacy Nature Preserve (2,200 acres). The development of “nature parks” in the greater Salt Lake City area is allowing residents and visitors to experience natural habitat within areas of the Salt Lake Valley’s urban environment. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Department of Interior Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration (NRDAR) program along with help from, the City of West Jordan, Utah Conservation Corps members, community (citizen) scientists, the Jordan River Commission and other stakeholder groups, are developing a monitoring approach and stewardship program to ensure the success of this restored natural open space. The goal of this monitoring approach is to work with and educate community scientists to collect scientifically valid data that will lead to a greater understanding of ecological function, document increases in ecological and natural resource services (such as water quality, flood retention, and migratory bird habitat), and inform adaptive management decisions. To reach these goals we have developed a Groundwater Monitoring Report that discusses groundwater’s interaction with local hydrology, an Adaptive Management Strategy for future monitoring of the urban fishery and open space, and habitat monitoring programs utilizing citizen scientists and other interested groups. This presentation will provide an update on the status of the monitoring approach development along with current research findings that may encourage additional guided data collection efforts by students, educators and the interested public. Through the interdisciplinary work of the involved stakeholders, groups, and citizens, this work will provide a foundation for establishing restoration projects that are able to meet measurable goals and improve the environment for both humans and the species that depend on these natural areas.

Speakers
avatar for Jack Dahlquist

Jack Dahlquist

Watershed Scientist, RiverRestoration
Jack is a watershed scientist, focusing on restoration practices in fluvial geomorphology and ecohydrology. He utilizes his skillset in habitat analysis, geomorphic assessments, sediment transport, and in creating monitoring protocols for restoration projects. Since moving to Utah... Read More →



2:40pm

Megafires and Hurricanes: Utah Watersheds Respond to Climate Change
Megafires and Hurricanes: Utah Watersheds Respond to Climate Change

Summary:
In late 2018 a wildfire burned over 100,000 acres in Utah County. Following the wildfire, a storm surge from the remnant of Hurricane Rosa caused extreme runoff and erosion. We collected water samples before, during, and after the events, quantifying carbon and nutrient concentrations and biodegradability.

Full Abstract:
Climate change in the western U.S. is causing larger wildfires and more extreme precipitation events. When these two ecological changes collide, they create massive ecosystem disturbance, affecting terrestrial and aquatic environments as well as human well-being. In October 2018, such a scenario occurred when the remnants of Hurricane Rosa dumped torrential rain on a two-week old, 610-km2 burn scar in central Utah. The wildfires, flash flooding, and debris flows triggered the evacuation of approximately 10,000 residents and created a sediment plume Utah Lake that was visible from space. We collected stream water samples from 10 watersheds during and after the storm, allowing us to quantify the interactive effects of megafire and extreme rain on aquatic biogeochemical fluxes. We analyzed samples for a broad suite of physicochemical parameters including organic matter concentration and biodegradability, water isotopes, major ions, trace metals, and nutrients. While the burned and unburned streams showed various concentration-discharge relationships, the effects of the megafire were apparent in nearly every parameter we quantified, increasing particulate loading and resulting in a substantial loss of terrestrial carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus. Additionally, the urban footprint was a major predictor of concentration and variability of nutrient concentrations. Together, these findings suggest that the combination of increased wildfire and extreme storms could affect water supply for humans and ecosystem status of downstream rivers and lakes.

Speakers
TC

Trevor Crandall

Graduate Student, Brigham Young University
My name is Trevor Crandall and I was born and raised in Provo, Utah. I received my bachelors degree from Utah Valley University in Business Management. While I was attending school at UVU I worked in the Earth Science Laboratory studying fish from Utah Lake and bio accumulation. I... Read More →



3:10pm

Break, snacks, and prize drawing!
Look for the "big ticket" signs for places to get raffle tickets!  By visiting exhibitor tables, and more. Prizes will be raffled off during this break.

 
Thursday, November 21
 

8:00am

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

8:30am

8:40am

PANEL Playing With Fire: Climate, Forest and Watershed Health
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 →



9:45am

Feasibility Analysis for Daylighting of City Creek in Folsom Corridor
Feasibility Analysis for Daylighting of City Creek in Folsom Corridor

Summary:
Daylighting piped streams have become a priority for many communities. Since the 1990s there has been interest by community members in daylighting City Creek in the Folsom Corridor. This talk will discuss some of the key issues and opportunities identified during the development of the 2019 City Creek Daylighting Feasibility Study, Salt Lake City.

Full Abstract:
Daylighting of piped streams along with stream restoration have become a priority for many communities nationwide. In addition to City Creek, other examples include Waller Creek in Austin and the Trinity River in Dallas, all of which are in the midst of restoration planning and have completed associated daylighting or restoration projects. Each of these projects have also undertaken studies that attempt to identify the environment and community needs and benefits of daylighting/restoration efforts. Project benefits are often targeted at improving water quality and habitat for aquatic and riparian flora and fauna; enhancing urban greenways for pedestrians and cyclists; and encouraging redevelopment of areas around the improved stream corridors. However, challenges often exist that can include conflicts with existing development and right-of-way issues, regulations and permitting, and affordable and attainable designs that balance the hydraulics of the existing systems, design concepts and expectations, and well-established public interests and visions. City Creek emanates from the canyon of the same name in the northern reaches of Salt Lake City. The creek originally flowed freely through Salt Lake City to the Jordan River, which terminates in the Great Salt Lake. In 1909 the entire stretch of City Creek was diverted underground at the mouth of the canyon. In the 1980’s portions of the creek were daylighted and in the 1990’s the Army Corps of Engineers studied the possibility of daylighting the lowest segment of the water way – the Folsom Corridor. Since then there has been continued interest by community members and Salt Lake City Corporation in daylighting the stream. This talk will discuss some of the key issues and opportunities identified during the development of the 2019 City Creek Daylighting Feasibility Study.

Speakers
avatar for Renn Lambert

Renn Lambert

Environmental Engineer, LimnoTech
Renn Lambert, PE joined LimnoTech in 2012 with MS and BS degrees in Environmental Engineering from Michigan Technological University and Utah State University. He has contributed to a number of projects; including a stream daylighting feasibility study for Salt Lake City and a literature... Read More →



9:45am

Jordan River Analog Remix (feat. Dojo with special guest BCT)
Jordan River Analog Remix (feat. Dojo with special guest BCT)

Summary:
The analog Jordan River is now home to more aliens than natives, including invasive fish and mollusks. We spent most of 2019 conducting ecological surveys of the Jordan River and State Canal to help evaluate their health. Although the river ecosystem still functions, its integrity is caput.

Full Abstract:
The Jordan River Ecosystem Trance (JRET) continues to amaze as it shuffles and remixes some our old favorites featuring Native players with several well-known established players and a few innovative up- and- coming game- changers heralding from all parts of the Globe. A true analog remix from the 90s that is sure to keep us on our toes and shaking our booties. We are constantly reviving our knowledge of the Jordan River’s compromised ecological integrity and have spent the good part of 2019 surveying and evaluating its health. In this version, we discuss the river’s finned assemblages from top to bottom and of course our old favorites, the mollusks and other spineless creatures. Our main focus is on the ecology of State Canal as it leaves the Jordan and co-mingles with wetland ponds along its journey but we won’t neglect sections of the Lower and Upper Jordan A few teasers to wet your appetite: more than 90% of the fishies and mollusks in the drainage are alien and are happily rearranging the rivers function in unanticipated and unpredictable ways to suite their needs; altered habitats determine who the players are and when they are scheduled to play; the new kid on the block has slipped under the radar for quite some time and is steadily making its way to its North American Nirvana, Utah Lake. Rumor has it, and if all goes well, we will reintroduce one of our all-time favorite players that we haven’t seen or heard from in a long, long time.

Speakers
avatar for David Richards

David Richards

Research Ecologist, OreoHelix Ecological
Ancient druid
TM

Theron Miller

Research Scientist, Wasatch Front Water Quality Council
Another ancient druid



10:15am

Break and snacks
Look for the "big ticket" signs for places to get raffle tickets!  By visiting exhibitor tables, and more. Prizes will be raffled off during the afternoon "finale" break.

10:40am

Shared Stewardship, Shared Outcomes
Shared Stewardship, Shared Outcomes

Summary:
Shared Stewardship, an agreement between the State and Forest Service, is about setting priorities together and combining resources to achieve cross-boundary outcomes using every available tool to improve forest health and target treatments in the highest priority landscapes to protect at-risk communities and watersheds from catastrophic fire.

Full Abstract:
Managers and owners of forested land in Utah face many challenges, among them catastrophic fires, drought, insects and disease, invasive species. Of particular concern are longer fire seasons and the increasing size and severity of wildfires, along with the expanding risk to communities, water sources, wildlife habitat, air quality, and the safety of firefighters. In order to address these concerns at a landscape scale, the State of Utah (State) and the USDA Forest Service (Forest Service) entered into a Shared Stewardship Agreement. On May 22, 2019, Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert and USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue signed the Agreement for Shared Stewardship between the State and the Forest Service Intermountain Region. Under the agreement, the State and Forest Service will focus on landscape-scale forest restoration activities that protect at-risk communities and watersheds.

This agreement establishes six mutual commitments that support the national vision and framework for Shared Stewardship. The State and Forest Service are committed to:
  1. Existing partnership, programs, and initiatives that have been successful in Utah;
  2. Working together to identify and map shared priorities for protecting at-risk communities and watersheds across all lands;
  3. Making joint decisions and sharing resources for immediate and ongoing work in priority areas;
  4. Engaging local communities in dialogue and learning about active management and desired landscape-scale outcomes, including capacity building and economic development opportunities;
  5. Shared planning efforts, including the integration of Utah’s Forest Action Plan and the Forest Service’s Five-Year Vegetation Management Plans;
  6. Co-managing wildfire risks and supporting each other in decisions that we have made together.

The State and Forest Service have worked collaboratively to identify and map priority landscapes that will guide activities across jurisdictional boundaries. Shared Stewardship is about setting priorities together and combining resources to achieve cross-boundary outcomes using every available authority and tool to support partnership efforts to improve forest health and target treatments in the highest priority landscapes, thereby protecting at-risk communities and watersheds from catastrophic fire. The State of Utah and the Forest Service will work in partnership to restore these priority landscapes using all available tools. The State and Forest Service have each contributed $2 million this year for project implementation, economic development and facilitation and training. An additional $16 million is committed to be invested through 2022 for a total of $20 million over 4 years.

Project work funded by Shared Stewardship is currently underway on the Unita-Wasatch- Cache (UWC), the Manti-La Sal and Dixie National Forests. On the UWC, work is getting started on phase four of the Upper Provo River watershed project. The watershed provides water for a significant portion state’s population and the goal of the project is to protect it from the effects of catastrophic wildfire and to restore forest health by reducing hazardous fuels, restoring an ecological balance in the forest and reducing overall tree density.

Speakers
LA

Laura Ault

Utah Shared Stewardship Coordinator, Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands
Laura Ault is the Shared Stewardship Coordinator for the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands. Laura started the Shared Stewardship position in July 2019, soon after the Agreement for Shared Stewardship between Governor Gary Herbert and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue... Read More →
TA

Tyler Ashcroft

Utah State Liaison for the Forest Service Intermountain Region, USDA Forest Service Intermountain Region
Tyler Ashcroft is the Utah State Liaison for the Forest Service Intermountain Region and is currently acting as the Regional Shared Stewardship Coordinator. As part of his position he works directly with the State of Utah to establish priorities and resolve concerns on National Forest... Read More →



11:10am

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 out the Poster Abstracts.

Posters
AC

Adam Culbertson

Student, Salt Lake Community College
My name is Adam Culbertson and I am 21 years old. I am currently enrolled at the Salt Lake City Community College​ and plan to transfer to the University of Utah and finish my schooling. I am studying Environmental Geo-sciences and am also extremely interested in Environmental sustainability... Read More →
avatar for Anne Terry

Anne Terry

Manager of the Jordan River Nature Center, Tracy Aviary
Anne Terry is the Nature Center Manager at Tracy Aviary. She got her start in environmental education by volunteering at a zoo in Texas at the age of thirteen and quickly realized it was the field for her. She has a B.S. in Biology from the University of Texas. An internship with... Read More →
BB

Brian Brown

Master's Student, Brigham Young Uniersity
Brian Brown is a Master’s student in Environmental Science at Brigham Young University, working in the labs of Dr. Benjamin Abbott and Dr. Samuel St. Clair. He received a Bachelors of Science in Bioinformatics, a degree that focuses on computer-assisted biological research, from... Read More →
CH

Chad Husband

Research Assistant, Westminster College
Currently a junior biology student and Westminster College.
avatar for Chloe Fender

Chloe Fender

Research Assistant, Westminster College
I am currently a senior at Westminster College. I have been studying biology and hope to pursue a graduate degree in environmental toxicology in the coming years.
avatar for Hannah Murphy

Hannah Murphy

Hydrologic Technician, Salt Lake County Watershed Planning and Restoration
Hannah works as a Hydrologic Technician for the county maintaining stream and rain gauges throughout the valley. Other time is spent taking stream flow measurements and collecting water quality samples. When she isn't working, Hannah enjoys most of her time outside trail running... Read More →
JT

Jake Tallman

Undergraduate Research Technician, Westminster College
Jake Tallman is currently in his last year at Westminster College and will be graduating in the Spring of 2020. His goal is to attend the University of Utah's medical school in order to become a physician. After spending his entire life on the Oregon Coast and the lakes of Idaho... Read More →
avatar for Jennifer Follstad Shah

Jennifer Follstad Shah

Assistant Professor, University of Utah
Jennifer Follstad Shah is an Assistant Professor (Lecturer) in the Environmental and Sustainability Studies (ENVST) Program and a Research Assistant Professor in Geography at the University of Utah. She also is an affiliate member of the Global Change and Sustainability Center (GCSC... Read More →
avatar for Jon Carter

Jon Carter

Campaign Director, Utah Rivers Council
Jon Carter is the Campaign Director for Utah Rivers Council, a 501.c3 not-for-profit organization based in Salt Lake City. He holds a B.A. in Business Administration with an emphasis on sustainability in organizations. Jon recently ran the Utah environmental program for Patagonia... Read More →
JS

Juhn-Yuan Su

Ph.D. Student, University of Utah
Juhn-Yuan Su began his Ph.D. Career/Research at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Utah in June 2016 under the supervision of Dr. Michael E. Barber. He has earned his Bachelor’s of Science (B.S.) in Civil Engineering from the University of... Read More →
avatar for Kate Kohut

Kate Kohut

Naturalist, Tracy Aviary
Kate Kohut is an ecologist and avid birder currently working as a Naturalist at Tracy Aviary. She got her B.S in wildlife conservation biology from the University of Rhode Island, and worked for Audubon New York after college as an environmental educator and outreach science communicator... Read More →
KP

Kevin Perry

Associate Professor in Dep. of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Utah
Dr. Perry is an Associate Professor in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Utah and served as Chair of the Department from 2011-2018. He holds a B.S. degree in meteorology from Iowa State University and a Ph.D. degree in Atmospheric Sciences from the University... Read More →
LP

Leika Patch

Data Manager, Brigham Young University
Leika Patch (pronounced lake- uh) is 4th year undergraduate at BYU studying Environmental Science, and minoring in Philosophy. She is interested in human influence on the natural world, stewardship, and sustainability with special interest in the field of water quality and ecology... Read More →
avatar for Madeleine Malmfeldt

Madeleine Malmfeldt

Research Assistant, Brigham Young University
Environmental Science master's student at Brigham Young University.
avatar for Madeline McLaughlin

Madeline McLaughlin

Masters Student, Brigham Young University
Masters student at Brigham Young University. Received undergraduate degree in genetics, genomics and biotechnology at BYU.
avatar for Mohammad Hasan

Mohammad Hasan

Graduate Research Assistant (Ph.D. Student), University of Utah
Mohammad Hasan began his Ph.D. Career/Research at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Utah in Spring 2017 semester under the supervision of Dr. Michael E. Barber. He has earned his Bachelor’s of Science (B.S.) in Civil Engineering from Bangladesh... Read More →
NV

Nicholas von Stackelberg

Environmental Engineer, Utah Department of Environmental Quality
Nicholas von Stackelberg is an environmental engineer with the Utah Department of Environmental Quality. Nicholas has worked on water resources and water quality projects for twenty-five years with several consulting firms and governmental agencies in Seattle and Salt Lake City. In... Read More →



11:40am

Accounting for Local Variation: Bugs in the Biomonitoring System
Accounting for Local Variation: Bugs in the Biomonitoring System

Summary:
Aquatic Invertebrates are often collected as environmental monitors; but the design recommended by regulatory agencies is usually ineffective for most monitoring goals. Our results are especially useful to watershed groups, or foundations hoping to describe change (good or bad) in benthic community structure.

Full Abstract:
Macroinvertebrate studies have become commonplace since the acceptance and promotion of rapid bioassessment protocols. Certain assumptions are implicit to the use of these protocols whenever they are used to detect change. We examined four inter-related aspects of bioassessment sampling designs that may preclude their use (senu stricto) to describe change: (1) aspects of design, (2) assumption of variance homogeneity, (3) assumption of taxonomic completeness, (4) assumption of standard unit effort. Due to time limitations, this presentation will focus primarily on the underlying assumptions (aspects of design) and within-site variation (variance homogeneity). One of the underlying premises of the bioassessment design is that a single, large sample can sufficiently represent all the variation in a riffle, or in a reach. Therefore, assessments are conducted without true replication in the field. However, this assumption is only valid if the variation is zero—or sufficiently close to zero that the error is negligible. That is, if you were to sample the same site multiple times, can you get the same (or similar) result? Although many people using bioassessment designs promote the idea that large samples eliminate variation, this was never actually tested in bioassessment development. We examined within-site variation of a bioassessment design by collecting five replicate composite samples from five individual sites in Sublette County Wyoming. The method of collection for WY DEQ samples is to collect eight randomly placed Surber (sample area 1sq. ft.) samplers from a riffle. Thus, to collect five replicates from a riffle, 40 individual, 1-square foot samples, had to be collected and apportioned among five large 8-surber-composites samples. This requires a herculean field effort to collect a modest number of replicates. Therefore, the advantages of collecting these samples should be substantial. We found significant variation in all metrics. Moreover, the variation in taxa richness, using the most-resolute taxonomy, was sufficiently large to cause problems with both multimetric indices and predictive models (e.g., rivpacs-style monitoring). In some cases, the variation in the observed taxa richness exceeded the impairment threshold defined for rivpacs models. We did not find a significant reduction in variation through compositing. Furthermore, compositing samples actually prevents the use of more rigorous statistical designs (e.g., modeling, and covariance). Finally, there is reason to believe that these observations have widespread application (e.g., Townsend 1989) Most watershed groups, conservation groups, foundations, and water quality monitors are interested in detecting spatial/temporal changes in community structure. Our results suggest this cannot be adequately evaluated using standard bioassessment designs. Discussion will briefly include strategies to use variation to detect community changes.

Speakers
BM

Brett Marshall

Senior Aquatic Entomologist, River Continuum Concepts, Inc.
Brett has been studying effects of biotic and abiotic factors on aquatic invertebrate communities for >33 years--Including time in academia, government, and consulting. He has personally conducted research on invertebrate community structure and function in 30 States from a variety... Read More →



11:40am

Resilience of the Great Salt Lake with Historical Climate Variability
Resilience of the Great Salt Lake with Historical Climate Variability

Summary:
This presentation covers the application of the Integrated Water Resources Model of the Great Salt Lake and analysis of the resilience of lake levels due to climate variability. The analysis and results will show different drivers that may impact lake levels and quantify the resilience of lake level against climate variability.

Full Abstract:
The Great Salt Lake is the largest saline terminal lake in the western hemisphere and the eighth-largest in the world. The lake supports a very diverse and unique ecosystem of wetlands, a huge population of migratory birds, and other terrestrial and aquatic wildlife. Historical records of lake levels show the lowest lake level in 1963 and the highest in 1986. The recent decadal observations indicate declining trends in lake level. The objective of this study was to analyze resilience of lake levels against observed climate variability. The resilience in this presentation refers to intrinsic characteristics of the lake to regain its lake level. This presentation includes main features of the Integrated Water Resources Model of the Great Salt Lake, the concept of resilience and the resilience of lake levels, and findings on the total lake level variability due to climate extremes. The analysis and results will help to better understand different drivers that have direct and indirect impact on change in lake levels and quantify the resilience of the lake level to climate variability.

Speakers
KK

Krishna Khatri

Water Resources Engineer, Utah Division of Water Resources
Krishna is working for the Utah Division of Water Resources. He is also associated (adjunct Asst. Professor) with the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Utah. Krishna holds a PhD degree in Water Resources Engineering, MSc in Water Resources Engineering... Read More →



12:10pm

1:10pm

Enhanced Biological Phosphorus Removal Using Side Stream Fermentation
Enhanced Biological Phosphorus Removal Using Side Stream Fermentation

Summary:
Enhanced Biological Phosphorus Removal (EBPR) can be used to limit the growth of algal biomass in natural water bodies but the cost of the external carbon source is a concern. However, sidestream fermentation of primary settled sludge or the waste activated sludge can serve as carbon source for simultaneous removal of phosphorus and nitrogen.

Full Abstract:
Nutrient accumulation in natural water bodies is a matter of concern considering the detrimental effects of eutrophication in aquatic life as well as humans. The proliferation of algal biomass in the water bodies creates low dissolved oxygen concentration for aquatic animals to sustain their life. Further, the toxins produced by some of the biomass- cyanotoxins from cyanobacteria- can impact humans as well. Nutrients in the form of nitrogen and phosphorus induce the growth of this biomass in natural water bodies. Hence, these nutrients should be removed or recovered for maintaining the ecological balance in natural water systems. Among the limiting nutrients, phosphorus removal isn't much emphasized in the wastewater treatment facilities. Even if it has been, it is more based on chemical precipitation. However, the cost of the chemicals and the fate of the products make it non-pragmatic. This lead to the discovery of enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR). Under anaerobic conditions, the polyphosphate accumulating organisms (PAOs) consume readily biodegradable carbon (rbCOD) and store them as Poly-beta-hydroxyalkanoate (PHA) while releasing orthophosphate (Tu & Schuler, 2013; Martín & Ivanova, 2006). Then, in aerobic conditions, the stored PHA is oxidized releasing energy for the uptake of poly-phosphate (Smolders & Van Loosdrecht, 1995). The suitable concentration of rbCOD needs to be externally provided for the proper operation of the EBPR system. Using synthetic chemicals, this will be cost consuming. However, sidestream fermentation from waste activated sludge or the primary settled sludge can serve as the source of rbCOD. A lab scale reactor was run using the fermenter of similar composition as of obtained from the fermentation of the primary settled sludge at the Central Valley Water Reclamation Facility (CVWRF). Also, a continuous reactor was run at the Central Valley Water Reclamation Facility (CVWRF) using the fermenter from the primary settled sludge. Simultaneous removal of phosphorus and nitrogen was obtained with these operations.

Speakers
BB

Bishav Bhattarai

Graduate Research Assistant, University of Utah
Bishav is a PhD student under Dr. Ramesh Goel at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the University of Utah. He is working on different biological nutrient removal processes including Enhanced Biological Phosphorus Removal (EBPR).



1:10pm

Low Impact Development; Breaking the High Back Curb
Low Impact Development; Breaking the High Back Curb

Summary:
Water quality regulation is about to encourage low impact development when the State retention standard goes effective expected March of 2020. With this new and significant permit requirement, there is an opportunity to shape how stormwater runoff is managed potentially improving stormwater management in unexpected ways.

Full Abstract:
Many green infrastructure designs today encourage more open space and direct runoff to local pocket ponds or open space areas. Also the flood control infrastructure is often a separate system and collecting runoff to local pocket pond systems many times results in water that remains on the surface. In addition, the requirement for more open space can increase development and maintenance cost. Perhaps this drainage model is influenced by the current norm which is to convey runoff to central areas, remove it as far away from the dwellings as possible and have government or private association entities maintain it. Water quality regulation is about to put green infrastructure into high gear when the State retention standard goes effective expected March of 2020. The retention standard will result in low impact development or at the very least traditional drainage systems with retention rather than detention ponds. With the new and significant permit requirement, there is an opportunity to shape how stormwater runoff is managed. If regulators and development are unified improving stormwater management is possible in unexpected ways, including decreased flooding, improve water quality, reduced impact fees and perhaps reduce overall government and private association system maintenance cost at the same time. The low impact development project I am most impressed with is the Lucky Estates Subdivision flood control and water quality control system. The design accomplishes flood control protection to a 10 year 24 hour volume, exceeds the anticipated permit retention standard, evenly distributes the runoff impact across the site reducing surface water depths, applies natures water quality approach and distributes a portion of system maintenance responsibility to local property owners who are contributing to the runoff impacts. The presentation discusses this systems flood control and water quality pros and cons. The lessons learned and issues that should be considered to improve the system success, so this approach can become another tool among many green infrastructure approaches.

Speakers
TB

Thomas Beesley

Stormwater Manager, Riverton City
Tom has been the Stormwater Manager for Riverton City since July 2010. He started working for Riverton City in 2000 and was hired to manage flood control, stormwater capital improvement projects and the MS4 regulations. Tom holds a Civil Engineering degree from University of Utah... Read More →



1:50pm

Practitioners Tips for Low-tech Stream Restoration in Utah
Practitioners Tips for Low-tech Stream Restoration in Utah

Summary:
Low-tech restoration continues to be popular for restoring degraded streams in the West. To supplement published resources, we present additional information and tips that are specific for practitioners in Utah in order to estimate project costs, staffing, and permits.

Full Abstract:
Low-tech restoration, mainly beaver dam analogues and post assisted log structures, continues to be popular for restoring degraded streams in the West because it is affordable and effective. In 2019 Utah State University published a comprehensive design manual titled “Low-tech Process-based Restoration of Riverscapes” which provides excellent detail on the implementation of low-tech restoration. We provide additional information that is specific for practitioners in Utah in order to estimate project costs, staffing, and permitting timelines. We also provide helpful tips and considerations for project managers.

Speakers
JG

Janice Gardner

Conservation Ecologist, Wild Utah Project
Janice H. Gardner, M.Sc., Certified Wildlife Biologist®, is a Conservation Ecologist for Wild Utah Project. Janice specializes in environmental regulation, management of special-status species, and environmental impact assessments. At Wild Utah Project, Janice leads several conservation... Read More →



1:50pm

Watershed-Scale Nutrient Budgets and eDNA Following a Utah Megafire
Watershed-Scale Nutrient Budgets and eDNA Following a Utah Megafire

Summary:
In late 2018 a wildfire burned over 600 square kilometers in Utah County. We are collecting water samples and have high-frequency chemistry stations to study the sediment and nutrient budgets of burned and unburned watersheds. We use this information to assess rate of ecosystem recovery following wildfire and potential implications for Utah Lake.

Full Abstract:
Wildfire in western forests can substantially restructure water flow through soil, groundwater, and river networks. These changes, along with disturbance of terrestrial and aquatic habitat can affect carbon and nutrient budgets with consequences for downstream reservoirs and lakes. The overall amount of runoff following a fire as well as its water quality are of great interest for the Wasatch Front and other rapidly growing urban areas in semi-arid ecosystems. Here, we report the initial results of a replicated observational study of watersheds in and around the 2018 Pole Creek Fire Complex. This “megafire” covered broad gradients of elevation, vegetation type, and human management, offering a unique opportunity to identify ecological factors and best management practices to protect wildlife habitat and watershed resources. With support from the Utah Department of Natural Resources, we instrumented 24 watersheds with flow and water chemistry sensors. These stations collected high-frequency pH, temperature, conductivity, oxygen, turbidity, and redox potential measurements, allowing quantification of snowmelt and periodic extreme precipitation event pulses, when most of the lateral flux occurs. We also collected weekly to monthly water samples from ~80 watersheds, which we analyzed for a broad suite of chemical and optical parameters. We analyzed these data to assess the role of wildfire extent and severity in determining a watershed’s ecohydrological signature and to explore ecological covariates including elevation, aspect, vegetation type, and watershed size. There were extreme and persistent differences in sediment transport and nutrient dynamics, which differed based on catchment characteristics. The burned catchments experienced repeated debris flows in the year following the fire, which disrupted aquatic life but also created new habitat, particularly in previously degraded reaches. We discuss the challenges and opportunities of high-frequency monitoring networks and more broadly the implications of increased megafires for water availability and aquatic habitat in Utah.

Speakers
IE

Isabella Errigo

Research Assistant, BYU
Isabella Errigo is an undergraduate student studying environmental science and international development. She is most interested in the relationship between people and their environment, and wants to continue to focus on ways to improve that relationship. After graduating, Isabella... Read More →



2:30pm

Bear River Development Debt Impacts Upon Wasatch Front Residents
Bear River Development Debt Impacts Upon Wasatch Front Residents

Summary:
How would Bear River Development be Repaid by ratepayers of the Wasatch Front?

Full Abstract:
For the last 20 years, an ongoing conversation about proposed the Bear River Development project has garnered the attention of the public, the media, elected officials, industry leaders and conservationists. Although much attention has focused on the environmental impacts of this project, relatively little focus has been given to the financial repercussions of this proposal upon Wasatch Front ratepayers and taxpayers. This Workshop offers an overview of proposed Bear River Development and explores a recently-commissioned economic analysis by the mineral company U.S. Magnesium, exploring the financial repercussions of proposed Bear River Development upon residents of the Wasatch Front. Although increasing water rates might at first be thought of as a panacea for raising the revenues needed to pay for proposed Bear River Development, the annual debt payments for the project exceed existing water revenues. This means that the project will require significant increases in water rates which will likely result in major decreases in water use. This raises questions about the need for Bear River water for future population growth along the Wasatch Front. This research demonstrates that the Bear River Development would require significant increases in revenues from both the ratepayers and taxpayers of the Wasatch Front, in turn forcing the cities receiving Bear River water to significantly raise their own revenues to pay for this project water. Urban water rate increases of this magnitude may make agricultural-to-urban water sales attractive to both farmers and urban water districts, further negating the Bear River Development’s value for future residents.

Speakers
ZF

Zachary Frankel

Executive Director, Utah Rivers Council
Zachary 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 years... Read More →
GL

Gabriel Lozada

Professor of Economics, Economics Dept., Univ. of Utah
Dr. Gabriel Lozada is a professor at the University of Utah Department of Economics. Dr. Lozada is a microeconomist who specializes in dynamic economic theory, particularly concerning natural resources such as minerals and fisheries, as well as questions of long-term economic sustainability... Read More →
DT

Dan Tuttle

Government Affairs Manager, U.S. Magnesium
Dan Tuttle is the Government Affairs Manager for U.S. Magnesium where he leads the companies intergovernmental activities. Prior to this work Dan was elected to the House of Representatives representing Magna, Kearns, and West Jordan cities at the Utah Legislature from 1985 to 1997... Read More →



2:30pm

Challenges of Urban Stream Restoration
Challenges of Urban Stream Restoration
View presentation (Prezi)

This presentation will outline the constraints of working on streams and rivers in urban environments and the discussion with focus on how we can achieve improvements in ecological condition and function in these areas. Many urban areas have parks, golf courses, channelized reaches, infrastructure, and other constraints around rivers and other aquatic and riparian resources. While these areas can be challenging, we have had some success in improving the ecological condition and function of these important resources along the Jordan River and in other areas across the region.

Speakers
avatar for Eric McCulley

Eric McCulley

Watershed Scientist, RiverRestoration
Eric McCulley has managed restoration and recreation enhancement projects on streams, rivers and wetlands across the Intermountain West for more than 15 years. His expertise is in the design and implementation of river and riparian projects that balance the needs of communities and... Read More →



3:00pm

Break, snacks, and prize drawing finale!
Hang with us to the bitter-end and you'll be rewarded with a chance to win the best prizes! Look for the "big ticket" signs for places to get raffle tickets.  By visiting exhibitor tables, and more.