Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Watershed Sciences

Committee Chair(s)

Erin Rivers


Erin Rivers


Hope Braithwaite


Mark Brunson


Daniella Hirschfeld


Rapid population growth and development in Western states are exerting strain on the region’s limited water resources. Urbanization exacerbates this issue by increasing impervious surfaces, limiting infiltration of precipitation during storm events and snowmelt, which results in changes to hydrologic conditions with higher runoff volumes and higher peak flows. Stormwater transports pollutants as it flows across impervious surfaces, discharging high volumes of runoff and elevated loads of urban contaminants into receiving waters. The amount of pollution entering waterways continually increases as urban areas expand. Utah is currently experiencing a rapid transition from undeveloped to developed landscapes, necessitating the implementation of sustainable stormwater management practices.

This project addresses the need for resources to support the implementation of low-impact development (LID) in Utah. Most available resources are designed for humid or mesic regions and lack specific guidelines for optimizing ecosystem services of LID in arid regions. We developed a series of tailored educational resources and management tools to empower professionals in stormwater management with the knowledge and tools to navigate evolving water quality challenges linked to urban development and runoff. These materials include a planting guide for low-impact development, a comprehensive website, and fact sheets about managing stormwater for multiple sectors. Empowering communities and professionals with educational resources and best practices is essential for maintaining compliance with stormwater discharge standards and curbing the impacts of urban pollution before reaching critical water quality and habitat impairment. Utah is strategically positioned to proactively address increasing development and prevent significant degradation to state water bodies.