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Every year, the Great Salt Lake (GSL) and its associated wetlands provide critical habitat to over 250 migratory bird species from both the Pacific and Central Flyways. The GSL borders the Wasatch Front, which is the fastest growing and most populous region in Utah. To support the ever-increasing working population, the government of Utah aspires to increase economic growth in the region through more economic incentives and infrastructure development. As this area continues to develop, greater pressure will be placed on the surrounding natural resources, including the GSL, its wetlands, and the open space and agricultural lands that act as buffers from the urbanizing Wasatch Front. The primary objective of this research was to identify and assess possible conflicts between current migratory bird habitat and three proposed future development projects around Farmington Bay of the GSL.

To identify and assess potential conflicts, the first step was to create habitat maps for three migratory bird guilds that use the Farmington Bay area by combining five representative species' habitat distributions for each guild. The next step was to collect and prepare spatial data for three proposed development projects that are slated for development by 2040. Next, the development projects were overlaid onto each guild's and species' habitat map to first identify conflict areas and then assess the spatial impacts on habitat for each species and guild. This report ends with recommendations for future development that promote the conservation of migratory bird habitat within the study area.

Overall, the three of the proposed development projects examined in this study produce substantial amounts of conflict with the current migratory bird habitat in the region. Based on these findings, recommendations were made for three development initiatives. First, promote 'centered growth' and higher-density housing to reduce the sprawl of single-family home neighborhoods. Second, retain and protect open space and agricultural lands as buffers around Farmington Bay to reduce the effects of habitat fragmentation and urban encroachment. Third, reconsider the construction of a new four-lane highway along the eastern edge of Farmington Bay. If these recommendations are implemented, the region's migratory bird habitat will remain protected from the impending economic expansion and urban development in the coming years.


This executive summary is the synthesis of the bioregional planning graduate project: “Identifying and Assessing Conflicts Between Future Development and Current Migratory Bird Habitat Around Farmington Bay, Utah”