Watershed Symposium 2018 has ended
Welcome to the official website of the 12th Annual Salt Lake County Watershed Symposium, November 14-15, 2018!  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 annually by Salt Lake County Watershed Planning & Restoration.

Powerpoints and audio recordings are available.  Click on a session and scroll down to the attached files.
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Thursday, November 15 • 11:35am - 12:05pm
What Should the Water Quality Goals for Great Salt Lake Wetlands Be?

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What Should the Water Quality Goals for Great Salt Lake Wetlands Be?

GSL experts provided UDWQ with info on what GSL wetlands look like in good and poor condition and the threats to wetlands. This info will be used to create water quality standards for GSL wetlands.

Full Abstract
The Utah Division of Water Quality (UDWQ) has been working to develop water quality standards for the wetlands of Great Salt Lake. Specifically we need to define a beneficial use (what the water is used for) that captures the most important parts of the wetland ecosystem and narrative standard criteria (what is and is not allowed in the water) that best protects wetlands. Determining the appropriate water quality goals for any wetland is difficult because water quality changes naturally throughout the year, which makes it challenging to detect poor conditions caused by human activities. Great Salt Lake wetlands are even more challenging to protect because of complex environmental gradients (especially salinity and flooding), extensive management activities, and complicated water sources. UDWQ conducted Conservation Action Planning (CAP) meetings to draw on the knowledge of a wide variety of experts that helped us understand the most important characteristics of our wetlands, the best indicators of wetland health, threats to wetlands, and strategies for protecting them. Participants in CAP meetings were experts in a broad range of topics, from birds to chemistry. In the meetings participants refined definitions of the most important ecosystem types – impounded, fringe, and playa/mudflat wetlands – and the birds that used the wetlands. Once those were defined, the meetings focused on what wetland features, from water depth to what plant species are growing, that best showed whether a wetland was in good or poor health. Finally, participants identified the biggest threats to wetlands – drought and invasive species – and came up with strategies for protecting wetlands against those threats. UDWQ will take the results of the meetings and other research into account as we come up with goals for GSL wetlands.


Becka Downard

Wetland Coordinator, Utah Division of Water Quality
Becka Downard has been the Wetland Coordinator for the Utah Division of Water Quality since 2016. Currently that work involves helping to develop water quality standards for the wetlands around Great Salt Lake. She received a PhD in Ecology from Utah State University, where she spent... Read More →

Thursday November 15, 2018 11:35am - 12:05pm MST
Lower Level - Ballroom A/B Utah Cultural Celebration Center, 1355 W 3100 S, West Valley City, UT 84119