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News Releases from Region 08

EPA awards over $630k to Utah agencies to bolster wetland assessments and water quality improvements

Utah Department of Environmental Quality and Utah Geological Survey address wetland health and water quality in Great Salt Lake, Central Basin and Range and Cache County wetlands

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Lisa McClain-Vanderpool (

Denver, Colo. (September 5, 2018) – EPA has awarded $631,405 in wetlands grants to the Utah Department of Environment Quality (UDEQ) and the Utah Geological Survey (UGS) to survey, assess and map wetlands in the state of Utah.

“Utah’s Great Salt Lake, Central Basin and Range, and Cache County wetlands are resources to be understood and protected,” said Darcy O’Connor, Assistant Regional Administrator of the Office of Water Protection. “Wetland resources in Utah are critical for many reasons including maintaining water quality, preserving water supply in times of drought and preventing flooding.”

UDEQ was awarded $221,250 to improve Great Salt Lake wetland quality through monitoring of wetland uses, water quality and condition. By gathering a combination of high-frequency water quality data, bird use data and more, UDEQ will be looking at persistent concerns about the links between excess nutrients in wetlands and the ability to support their recreational and aquatic life uses. Methods for monitoring impounded and fringe wetlands around Great Salt Lake will continue to be improved, and a high-frequency monitoring network to track water quality processes will be built. Outreach, coordination, and data dissemination will also be included in this project.

UGS was awarded $219,670 to gather baseline data on Utah’s Central Basin and Range wetlands and to characterize high quality reference condition for important wetland types in the region. Wetlands will be surveyed with an existing protocol that collects data on vegetation, water quality parameters, soil characteristics, and wetland condition, and two new components will be added to the protocol, soil salinity measurement and evaluation of floodwater storage capacity. Results will improve understanding and protection of wetlands in this region.

UGS was also awarded $190,485 to update and further develop wetland spatial data for the state of Utah. UGS will map wetlands in the Cache County with enhanced attribution that will make it possible to link wetland spatial data to potential functions. UGS will also enhance the accessibility of wetland data by adding additional data to the UGS’s wetland mapper application, including a landscape profile for major watersheds in Utah.

EPA has awarded over $2.5 million in wetlands grant funding for 11 projects across EPA’s mountains and plains region of the West (Region 8). Healthy wetlands perform important ecological functions, such as feeding downstream waters, trapping floodwaters, recharging groundwater supplies, removing pollution, and providing habitat for fish and wildlife.

Wetlands Program Development Grants assist state, tribal, local government agencies, and interstate/intertribal entities in building programs that protect, manage, and restore wetlands and aquatic resources. States, tribes, and local wetlands programs are encouraged to develop wetlands program plans, which help create a roadmap for building capacity and achieving long-term environmental goals.

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