Riverfront Communities

The Jordan River Commission is working with its members governments to help implement a long-range vision for the Jordan River that includes preserved and restored open space, expanded recreational access, community building that embraces the river as an amenity, and minimizes any adverse impacts of development on the river corridor, and  protects water quality, aesthetics, and the ecology and hydrology of the river corridor. Given the many stakeholder voices along the river corridor, facilitating the implementation of these wide-ranging recommendations often requires a balancing act.

The Commission is a capacity-building organization.  In this role, we work to increase and improve our member agencies’ ability to implement the recommendations of the Blueprint Jordan River, to raise public awareness of the Jordan River corridor and the opportunities available to enhance it, and to help promote coordination and communication among Jordan River stakeholders. The Commission has no regulatory authority for the Jordan River corridor.  Planning and regulation of development within the river corridor all fall under the authority and responsibilities of the cities and counties that border the river.

The JRC maintains a library of model riparian corridor protection ordinances from around the region and country.  In addition, we have developed the following tools and resources to help local governments, landowners, and developers better guide decision-making within the Jordan River corridor.



Blueprint Jordan River – A regional community-involvement and planning effort, led by Envision Utah, involved thousands of Wasatch Front residents and culminated in a long-range, regional vision for the Jordan River called the Blueprint Jordan River.  This document spurred the formation of the Jordan River Commission and serves as the organization’s guiding document.  The vision includes a series of five Big Ideas and ten Guiding Principles ranging from open space protection to responsible urban renewal, recreation expansion to transportation connections, and environmental education to habitat and water quality protection and restoration.


BestPractices thumbBest Practices for Riverfront Communities –  A  guide containing land-use standards that embrace the river. This document contains practical advice, “how to’s” to, and local examples for implementing the guiding principles of the Blueprint Jordan River.

Download the final version here:
Low resolution version (2.2 MB)
,  High resolution version (9.1 MB)


U BMP sheetStormwater Best Management Practices – The JRC worked with the University of Utah’s  Civil and Environmental Engineering department to develop a series of strategies for managing stormwater quality and quantity within the Jordan River watershed.   This project included the development of model designs, fact sheets that can be easy shared and used by local governments, and some public information resources explaining the role home owners can play in stormwater management.


Env BP Workshop

Best Practices for Riverfront Communities Training Series – The Jordan River Commission is hosting a series of seminars designed to delve into the details of specific sections in the toolbox outlined in Jordan River Commission’s document, Best Practices for Riverfront Communities.  Learn from local and national experts speaking on topics that range from streambank soil bioengineering, conservation design, transfer of development rights, stormwater management, and recreational facility design and management.

Click here for a video of the Streambank Soil Bioengineering workshop.


River-Friendly_logoRiver-Friendly Development and Community Recognition Program – The Jordan River Commission has created two River-Friendly Recognition programs, one for communities along the Jordan River and another for developments within 1/2-mile of the river corridor. These voluntary programs are intended to encourage and recognize local planning and development design efforts that exemplify the spirit of the regional, community-driven Blueprint Jordan River vision. It inspires healthy competition and recognizes the hard work and dedication of local planning staff, elected officials, and private enterprise to improve the Jordan River corridor.

Both programs are based on recommendations in Envision Utah’s Blueprint Jordan River, and Jordan River Commission’s Best Practices for RiverFront Communities.  This program is completely voluntary, and in no way regulates the ability of each individual community to develop their portion of the river corridor the way they see fit. Instead, it is intended to reward projects that embrace the Jordan River, making it a better place for 2.2 million residents of the Wasatch Front.


knoxboxredevelopment3Community Design Assistance – The Jordan River Commission has a 40-person Technical Assistance Committee (TAC) comprised of city planners, landscape architects, civil engineers, hydrologists, biologists, recreational enthusiasts, and more.    Upon request, the TAC works with local governments and other stakeholders to help review site plans, permit applications and other development or restoration projects within the river corridor and offer recommendations and suggestions to help meet the project proponent’s goals while at the same time protecting and enhancing all aspects of the river corridor – water quality, wildlife habitat, natural flood attenuation, and recreation.  This collaborative, multi-stakeholder process results on better plans, minimizes adverse impacts, and builds support for responsible river corridor planning and management.

All recommendations are based on the JRC’s recent publication, Best Practices for Riverfront Communities.  The JRC is respectful of each individual community’s local planning authority, and the purpose of this assistance is not to take a position for or against a particular project, but instead to offer constructive feedback and suggestions to make the project better.