The Jordan River Commission is working with its members and partner organizations to preserve and restore open space along the Jordan River, and to continue to expand and enhance recreational opportunities within the river corridor. Our project-based work includes both efforts to help restore the vegetation and wildlife habitat along the river as well as working to enhance recreational opportunities for the thousands of people that live along the Wasatch Front.
Restoration and Preservation Efforts
Community-Based Restoration – The JRC has been working with community partners and volunteers to install new patches of native vegetation throughout the Jordan River Parkway and in nearby neighborhoods in places where community partnerships exist to water and maintain the plants. Designed by local ecologists Eric McCulley and Ty Harrison, these approximately 10′ x 10′ fenced “habitat patches” are helping to restore native vegetation along the river, as well as serving as vehicles for community engagement and education. Habitat patches exist at local schools, libraries, parks and natural areas along the river. In many cases, these habitat patches are installed as part of a formal school residency lead by the Center for Documentary Expression and Art.
Jordan River Dissolved Oxygen & Flow Experiments – The JRC is excited to advance the next phase of an applied research project to evaluate the effects of modest adjustments in the management of water flows in the lower Jordan River in achieving dissolved oxygen improvements while also improving riparian and wetland habitat. The project is funded and supported by the Utah Division of Water Quality with assistance from Cirrus Ecological Solutions, a local consulting firm, to assist with the planning, design and implementation of the flow management experiments in the lower Jordan River. Experiments are planned to take place during the summers of 2016 and 2017.
Lower Jordan River Restoration & Community Education Project – The JRC is working with RiverRestoration.org and the Center for Documentary Expression and Art on a three-year effort to foster community stewardship of the Jordan River as it flows through Salt Lake City and into Davis County. The project includes quarterly community service events and a series of 8-week school residencies. So far, over 1,000 new native trees and shrubs have been planted along the Jordan River, nearly 1 ton of trash has been removed from the river, and 120 students have been engaged in the project. Media coverage of the effort includes: Salt Lake Tribune, Deseret News, KUER.
Cottonwood Pond Restoration – We are excited to be embarking on a two year effort to help West Valley City restore and enhance a neglected storm water detention pond into a restored wetland that welcomes the public to learn about the river and helps to purify polluted storm water before it enters the Jordan River. Funded by a grant from the EPA, this project will result in $50,000 in investments to turn this eyesore into a destination for the community and a functional wetland habitat for the many birds and animals that already visit it. Partners on this effort include the West Valley City, the Center for Documentary Expression and Art, Hunter High School, Utah Water Watch, the University of Utah Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, and RiverRestoration.org.
Big Bend Habitat Restoration Project – The JRC is assisting the City of West Jordan by helping to secure funding and resources for the proposed 70-acre habitat and stream channel restoration project in West Jordan. The JRC’s role on this project is fundraising, and volunteer, environmental education and research coordination. The Jordan River Commission has contributed $140,811 in funding to assist with the implementation of the first phases of this restoration project, in addition to helping prepare grants to secure over $200,000 in project design funds, invasive vegetation management, and migratory bird monitoring.
Puncturevine Weed Management – The Jordan River Commission has been working for three years now on the management of puncturevine weeds, also known as goat heads, along the Jordan River Parkway Trail. These little plants produce thousands of spiky seed pods that are notorious for puncturing bicycle tires. They have in the past rendered some sections of the Jordan River Parkway Trail nearly unusable due to their prevalence. With funding from the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, we have been experimenting with a variety of different strategies to manage the weed, including biological controls, manual pulling, reseeding and chemical control. We are working with a regional group of experts and trail managers to develop a consistent and effective approach to managing this invasive plant.
Open Space Preservation – The JRC worked with several private and public partners to complete an inventory of all the lands along the Jordan River. An interactive, web-based map version of this inventory is currently being developed for public use. This inventory identifies land along the river as: 1) public or privately owned, 2) protected as open space with a conservation easement or not, and 3) zoned for development or zoned for open space. This inventory is being used to guide future land acquisition priorities for local governments, and as a reference in state and local planning efforts, and is helping to raise awareness and funds for the permanent preservation of critical open spaces along the Jordan River. In addition to maintaining an inventory of the Jordan River corridor, the JRC is working with local governments to provide resources like open space preservation tools and techniques, model riparian corridor protection ordinances, and participating in state and local government long-range planning efforts.
F J Gillmor Ranch Preservation – The JRC raised $50,000 to contribute to the purchase of a conservation easement for this several thousand acre historic family ranch located along the delta of the Jordan River into the Great Salt Lake. This preservation project is being led by Utah Open Lands.
Three Creeks Confluence – This new park space and restoration project is located at the confluence of Parleys, Emigration and Red Butte Creeks with the Jordan River. The mountain creeks are currently piped under the roadway, joined by storm sewers from the valley, and empty into the Jordan River at a large outfall structure at the terminus of 1300 South. The JRC has helped raise $25,000 to support implementation of the first phases in an effort to daylight these streams and create a new community park space at the confluence. This project is being led by Salt Lake City, with support from the Seven Canyons Trust, Utah State University, and many other stakeholders.
Riverton Wetlands – This project seeks to restore a 10-acre wetland complex in Riverton that is currently dewatered and not functioning. Concerns from the surrounding community caused the pond to be dewatered. This new design will help to improve the functionality of this mitigation site and address community concerns, allowing nutrients to be soaked up by surrounding vegetation, mitigating flooding, and preventing downstream erosion during major precipitation events by spreading out the stormwater, slowing it down, and allow it to infiltrate into the soil. This will help to retain high nutrients in the project area, as well as mitigate high TDS levels due to flooding events.
Pioneer Crossing Park – This project is a joint effort of the JRC, Salt Lake County, West Valley City, Granger Hunter Improvement District, and a citizen group interested in celebrating this site’s unique cultural history. This site is the location of the first crossing of the Jordan River by the Mormon pioneer families that settled west of the Jordan River. The first phase of the project targeted the south end of the property, slated to become a natural sanctuary for Jordan River wildlife and migratory birds. With project partners, the Jordan River Commission developed a phased management plan for invasive vegetation removal and revegetatation to increase habitat potential to birds and wildlife, help to reclaim the Jordan River corridor from rampant invasive vegetation infestations, and to reactivate this natural space to mitigate unwanted activities in the area.
- The JRC secured a $1.23 million appropriation from the Utah State Legislature for a bridge to close the gap in the trail between North Temple and 200 South.
- We helped secure $1.1 million from the Utah State Legislature for design and construction of a pedestrian tunnel under 9000 South.
- The JRC secured $15,000 in donations from Utah Rotary Clubs to help construct a pedestrian bridge needed to fill the trail gap in West Jordan.
- We have raised $204,639 for the completion of a bridge to connect the trail in Salt Lake City from North Temple to 200 South.
- A new pedestrian bridge that provides a safe access across 4500 South in Taylorsville/Murray opened in 2015, with support from both cities, UTA, UDOT and coordination efforts by the JRC.
- The JRC also helped place the Salt Lake County Regional Trails Bond on the 2012 ballot, which provides $11.5 million for trail completion. We helped educate voters about what improvements will be made to the Jordan River Parkway if the bond were to be approved, and the bond was approved by voters.
Water Trail Navigational Hazards – There are several structures that cross the Jordan River and create hazards for recreational boaters. The JRC is collaborating with other stakeholders help fund the implementation of mitigation projects to make boating on the Jordan River safer. We helped lobby the state legislature for $350,000 in 2014 to help fund the mitigation of a deadly hazard at Winchester Street in Murray. We are currently working with Salt Lake County, the Utah Division of Forestry Fire and State Lands to plan for and secure additional funding to mitigate the remaining hazards on the river.
Rowing Facility and Boat Storage – The Jordan River Commission has helped raise $30,000 in support of the construction of permanent boat docks and a storage facility for competition rowing boats at the 2100 South Surplus Canal diversion and the Jordan River for the Wasatch Rowing Foundation and Utah Crew.
Interpretive Signage – The JRC secured nearly $24,000 in funding for the design and installation of educational signage interpreting the restoration efforts along the Jordan River corridor by the Salt Lake County Watershed Restoration and Planning Program. Watch for these signs along the river in Spring of 2017.
Water Trail and Boat Launches – The JRC has secured $23,800 to assist in the construction of four boat launches/take-outs along the Jordan River in both Saratoga Springs and North Salt Lake. These new boater access points, simple gravel and sand ramps, will make it easier for recreational boaters to access and float safe sections of the Jordan River. We provided $35,000 in support to Salt Lake County to develop a Jordan River Water Trail Master Plan, coming in spring 2017. In addition, we are currently seeking $2.1 million in funding from the Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts and Parks program to plan, design, and complete a water trail through the Salt Lake County segment of the river.
Jordan River Parkway Trail Map – The JRC worked with Salt Lake County and the National Park Service’s Rivers and Trails Conservation Assistance Program to develop the first ever educational, pocket trail map for the Jordan River Parkway Trail 25,000 copies of this new map have been printed and distributed to bicycle shops, outdoor equipment stores, and county recreation centers throughout the region. Get your own copy here.