“Invasive species such as tamarisk and Russian olive are taking over our stream and river banks, creating a biological desert. Cottonwoods and willows have no room to propagate and grow, which harms the species that depend on them. We care deeply about our native plants and wildlife, and had to get involved.”
– Bill and Katie Stevens, landowners, Grand County, Utah
As the second driest state in the nation, Utah faces a constant challenge to guard limited water resources that sustain our communities, our industries and our natural world. But today, our rivers, lakes and wetlands face unprecedented threats.
Non-native species such as tamarisk and Russian olive are decreasing available water and reducing wildlife habitat. Every year, our growing communities demand larger supplies and we expose rivers and lakes to more pollutants. As we endure historic droughts and hotter temperatures, it’s clear we must act now to save Utah’s fresh water for both people and nature.
Through the Nature of Utah Campaign, the Conservancy will restore health and natural flows on six rivers and the Great Salt Lake and enhance streamside wildlife habitat on thousands of acres statewide.
Water shortages, declining wildlife, and spreading invasives threaten this critical river system. Conservancy chapters in six states and Mexico have launched a unified effort to improve and sustain the entire Colorado River Basin. In Utah, we are helping to restore riverside habitats and natural flows.
Along these tributaries of the Colorado, the Conservancy is helping public and private partners improve river flows, battle invasive species and bolster native fish populations.
This river supports a wealth of wildlife, including 200 species of migratory birds, as it winds through southern Utah. The Conservancy is working with the Escalante River Watershed Partnership on a community-based initiative to restore streamside habitat and encourage sustainable land and water use.
Flowing through Washington County, the Virgin River feeds one of the nation’s most important “biodiversity hotspots.” The Conservancy is joining with the Virgin River Program and others to develop new science on water flows, restore riverside lands and make aquisitions to save wildlife habitat along key river corridors.
The largest water source for the Great Salt Lake, the Bear River also supports human and natural communities across three states. As development and climate change pressures intensify, the Conservancy is uniting stakeholders to restore riverside lands and explore innovations, such as water sharing, to ensure in-stream flows. At the Great Salt Lake, we’re expanding beyond wetlands protection, working with government and industry on an historic effort to better manage and protect the entire Lake system.October 29, 2011