The Nature Conservancy announced the hire of Salt Lake City-based architecture firm CRSA to begin designing facilities for the Canyonlands Research Center in southeast Utah. The facilities will be located at the Conservancy’s Dugout Ranch, south of Moab, and will provide year-round housing and laboratories for visiting scientists. The design and construction of the facilities, as well as ongoing operations, will seek minimal impacts to the environment and feature carbon neutral concepts.
“We’re thrilled to have CRSA leading this important design effort,” said Dave Livermore, The Nature Conservancy’s Utah State Director. “This facility will support the development of science-based solutions to safeguard the lands, waters and wildlife of this region—natural assets important to all of us.”
CRSA, a 60-person architectural design firm based in Salt Lake City, was chosen for its record with eco-friendly projects including the platinum LEED Certified Swaner Eco Center in Park City Utah. The firm prides itself on its environmentally friendly design services which include planning, architecture, landscape architecture and interiors.
“It’s an honor to be selected from the highly qualified firms who vied for this project, and it’s exhilarating to work with The Nature Conservancy on a project in which our goals so closely align,” said Kathy Wheadon, Senior Principal with CRSA. “The project’s vision for a net-zero, carbon neutral, off-the-grid research facility allows our design and sustainability expertise to shine.”
Facility design is the most recent step in the launch of the Canyonlands Research Center, a unique collaborative that brings together scientists, public land managers and local land users to protect the natural resources of the Colorado Plateau or “Four Corners” region.
“The Colorado Plateau supports communities, working ranches and businesses, and provides hunting and recreation opportunities for millions,” said Dr. Barry Baker, Director of the Canyonlands Research Center. “But these lands and waters are facing unprecedented human demands, coupled with rising temperatures and prolonged droughts. We need new answers and new strategies to safeguard our future.”
Through research on issues such as wildlife and water management, grazing and recreation use issues, the Canyonlands Research Center will develop science-based strategies to help public land managers and private landowners improve protection for natural resources.
Collaboration and local involvement is key to the success of the Canyonlands Research Center, which will bring together scientists and local stakeholders, such as ranchers, to ensure research will translate into real-world land and water management solutions.
Rancher Heidi Redd, owner of Indian Creek Cattle Company based at the Dugout Ranch, explains: “Will the land change so much that it cannot support the livestock, beauty, and recreation uses common in the area today? I want to work with scientists to help answer these questions, and ensure the future of the Dugout Ranch other places like it on the Colorado Plateau.”
The Canyonlands Research Center brings together a suite of partners including The Nature Conservancy, Utah State University, U.S. Geological Survey, Bureau of Land Management, USDA Forest Service, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, The National Park Service and Indian Creek Cattle Company.
The facility design process is scheduled to culminate this spring, and the Conservancy hopes to schedule a groundbreaking for the Canyonlands Research Center in summer 2011.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.