Event Title

Alternative futures for the rural Intermountain West: Case study of the San Rafael River Basin in southern Utah

Presenter Information

Stephanie Tomlin
Carly Klein

Location

Eccles Conference Center

Event Website

http://water.usu.edu

Start Date

4-1-2014 1:20 PM

End Date

4-1-2014 1:40 PM

Description

Background: Many communities in rural areas of southern Utah face the challenge of making decisions about sustainable landscape development in a time of economic uncertainty, societal shifts and climatic changes, i.e. drought and severe storms. Such decisions must reflect landscape level issues such as extractive energy, residential development, agriculture, wildlife conservation, and tourism. Scenarios for future development must also consider landscape resources such as water quality and quantity, air quality, and sensitive habitats. Furthermore, the implementation of recommendations for future development and planning policies must address the complex pattern of land ownership found in the Intermountain West. Much of the rural land in southern Utah is owned by the Federal and State governments, and managed by different agencies with respective mandates,(e.g. BLM, SITLA, USFS. This federally owned land accounts for roughly 11% of total surface area in the country. Area of study: In a case study of the San Rafael River Basin (SRRB) scenarios for future development will responded to the socio-economic and environmental issues that are being identified with the help of local stakeholders. The San Rafael river is the life source of the local communities, and originates in the Wasatch Mountains and flows eastward through the San Rafael Swell to the Green River. The watershed encompasses mountain and high desert habitats as well as historical petroglyphs and unique geological formations of the San Rafael Swell. This area is rich in unique cultural/historical and environmental resources but also faces economic challenges and the migration of the younger residents. Coal extraction and the generation of electrical power are major economic drivers in the region. The San Rafael Swell also encompasses unique geologic formations with exquisite canyons as well as several wilderness study areas. Future scenarios for the region must show an understanding of the interdependencies of the physical, biological and cultural components of the region. Issues: Current issues that impact the future development of the landscape include, among others, declining population, aging population, energy extraction and production, agricultural production and the protection and development of water resources. The objective of the case study is to make recommendations for the future development that address social and economic needs of the region while retaining the landscape character and natural resources. Alternative futures are being developed with stakeholder input that promote multiple use and a balance between conservation and development.Environmental evaluation models were developed to assess the fitness of the land use scenarios and to identify mitigation requirements. The merit of the study will serve to provide stakeholders and policy makers in the Basin with a background for future environmental and development policies within the region.

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Apr 1st, 1:20 PM Apr 1st, 1:40 PM

Alternative futures for the rural Intermountain West: Case study of the San Rafael River Basin in southern Utah

Eccles Conference Center

Background: Many communities in rural areas of southern Utah face the challenge of making decisions about sustainable landscape development in a time of economic uncertainty, societal shifts and climatic changes, i.e. drought and severe storms. Such decisions must reflect landscape level issues such as extractive energy, residential development, agriculture, wildlife conservation, and tourism. Scenarios for future development must also consider landscape resources such as water quality and quantity, air quality, and sensitive habitats. Furthermore, the implementation of recommendations for future development and planning policies must address the complex pattern of land ownership found in the Intermountain West. Much of the rural land in southern Utah is owned by the Federal and State governments, and managed by different agencies with respective mandates,(e.g. BLM, SITLA, USFS. This federally owned land accounts for roughly 11% of total surface area in the country. Area of study: In a case study of the San Rafael River Basin (SRRB) scenarios for future development will responded to the socio-economic and environmental issues that are being identified with the help of local stakeholders. The San Rafael river is the life source of the local communities, and originates in the Wasatch Mountains and flows eastward through the San Rafael Swell to the Green River. The watershed encompasses mountain and high desert habitats as well as historical petroglyphs and unique geological formations of the San Rafael Swell. This area is rich in unique cultural/historical and environmental resources but also faces economic challenges and the migration of the younger residents. Coal extraction and the generation of electrical power are major economic drivers in the region. The San Rafael Swell also encompasses unique geologic formations with exquisite canyons as well as several wilderness study areas. Future scenarios for the region must show an understanding of the interdependencies of the physical, biological and cultural components of the region. Issues: Current issues that impact the future development of the landscape include, among others, declining population, aging population, energy extraction and production, agricultural production and the protection and development of water resources. The objective of the case study is to make recommendations for the future development that address social and economic needs of the region while retaining the landscape character and natural resources. Alternative futures are being developed with stakeholder input that promote multiple use and a balance between conservation and development.Environmental evaluation models were developed to assess the fitness of the land use scenarios and to identify mitigation requirements. The merit of the study will serve to provide stakeholders and policy makers in the Basin with a background for future environmental and development policies within the region.

https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/runoff/2014/2014Abstracts/16