Climate Adaptation in Salt Lake County’s Watershed Management

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In this YouTube video, the lecturer Marian Hubbard Rice explains how Salt Lake City has integrated climate change adaptation in its watershed management.

In 2015, the city shifted to an integrated watershed plan that incorporates the 208 Clean Water Act – a section that requires states to implement regional wastewater management plans, climate change effects on precipitation and runoffs, and land-use practices, and population.

Changes to land use, such as developments that create more impervious surfaces, will significantly affect water movement and pollutant loads.

Although the council has started to recognise weather variability in 2008-2009 in its watershed management planning, it was not until 2016 that climate change was mentioned and integrated into the plan.

The council then did a climate change analysis that includes modeling of dry and wet conditions in some of the areas in the county in anticipation of the increases in temperature and changes in precipitation and runoff pattern throughout due to climate change.

Some of the highlights of the video includes:

  • Climate effects on watershed functions, the nexus or link between water and energy, and stream restoration and low impact development (LID) that integrates climate change.
  • Shifting from the traditional approach to more holistic restoration strategies that utilize vegetation and natural channel approach that integrates climate change.
  • Application of LID approach and green infrastructure in Salt Lake’s county stream restoration projects. Stream and river issues include stream bank scouring, bank stabilisation, and managing stormwater runoffs, which will be significantly affected by climate change.
  • Involving and engaging the community through events and symposiums to teach them about the watershed- what it is and how to be a good steward of it.

Watch this video by clicking the play button below:

Source citation:

Adapting Watershed Management to Climate Change (2016, November 3). USU Extension Forestry. [Video file]. Retrieved from

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