Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 58.55
Liaison Amy Brunvand
Submission Date April 5, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Utah
OP-10: Biodiversity

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Amy Brunvand
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution own or manage land that includes or is adjacent to legally protected areas, internationally recognized areas, priority sites for biodiversity, and/or regions of conservation importance?:

A brief description of the legally protected areas, internationally recognized areas, priority sites for biodiversity, and/or regions of conservation importance:

Red Butte Creek
Red Butte Creek is a riparian corridor that flows through the University of Utah. Located between City Creek to the north and Emigration Creek to the south. The upper subwatershed, is located above the University of Utah in the Red Butte Canyon RNA. The lower Red Butte Creek subwatershed drains 1,652 acres from the mouth of Red Butte Canyon downstream 2.7 miles to a point just west of 1100 East. The creek flows through the University of Utah campus and research park, the Veteran’s Affairs (VA) Medical Center complex, Sunnyside Park, and then though primarily residential neighborhoods. The open channel portion of Red ButteCreek terminates in the 1300 South conduit, which conveys the creek to the Jordan River via a 3.4-mile-long pipe. (Final Red Butte Creek Management Plan, 2010).

University of Utah Heritage Preserve (487 acres)
Borders the Utah Museum of Natural History (UMNH) site on the east. The University placed the lands into a conservation easement to preserve their scenic, natural and recreation values. The general public has access to the Preserve for hiking, non-motorized biking, photography, and nature study.
URL: http://utahopenlands.org/heritage-preserve/

Bonneville Shoreline Trail (3.3 miles)
The Bonneville Shoreline Trail concept began in 1990 as an effort to preserve a heavily used mountain biking, jogging, and walking pathway along a corridor between Emigration Canyon and Dry Canyon on the east side of Salt Lake City. The University of Utah's Research Park and Red Butte Garden and Arboretum were growing, with the Garden concerned about fencing to protect its horticultural collections, a fee area, and Research Park management considering new development that might terminate the recreation corridor. By 1992 the University of Utah agreed to an unspecified recreation corridor to connect through Research Park and the University Medical Center area to Dry Creek Canyon to the North. University of Utah trailheds include, Dry Creek Trailhead, Red Butte Creek Road Trailhead, and Emigration Canyon Trailhead. About 3.3 miles of the trail are adjacent to the University of Utah campus.
URL: http://bonnevilleshorelinetrail.org/

State Arboretum of Utah/ Red Butte Garden and Arboretum (1,647 acres)
The University of Utah campus, including Red Butte Garden and Arboretum, is part of the State Arboretum of Utah which covers 1,500 acres to the east of the University of Utah campus, plus an additional 147 acres that includes the Red Butte Garden and Arboretum. The Arboretum was established in 1961 and includes over 8,000 trees of 300 different species. Red Butte Garden and Arboretum (100 acres) is part of the University of Utah About 75 acres of the garden are natural lands, and 25 acres are designated for gardens and facilities.
URL: http://www.redbuttegarden.org/

Has the institution conducted an assessment or assessments to identify endangered and vulnerable species (including migratory species) with habitats on institution-owned or –managed land?:

Has the institution conducted an assessment or assessments to identify environmentally sensitive areas on institution-owned or –managed land?:

The methodologies used to identify endangered and vulnerable species and/or environmentally sensitive areas (including most recent year assessed) and any ongoing assessment and monitoring mechanisms:

Researchers in the Biodiversity and Conservation Ecology Lab at the University of Utah use camera traps as a noninvasive approach to document species that are present in Red Butte Canyon.
Chynoweth, M.W., Bell, A., Gamertsfelder, E., Gavin, M., Green, A., Hethmon, B., Van Leeuwen, M., Sekercioglu, C.H. 2015. Wildlife of Utah's Red Butte Canyon Captured by Camera Traps. University of Utah

iUtah Project is studying Red Butte Creek
URL: http://iutahepscor.org/research-focus/watersheds/redbutte.shtml

"Final Environmental Impact Statement, Utah Museum of Natural History, New Museum Facility," (2006).
Vegetation survey found no federally listed plant species, and no species tracked by the Utah Natural Heritage Program. Wildlife survey used records from UNMH collections and site-specific observations in 2005-2006.

A brief description of identified species, habitats and/or environmentally sensitive areas:

Red Butte Reservoir is habitat for the habitat for June sucker (Chasmistes liorus), an endangered species of fish endemic to Utah Lake and the Provo River.

Red Butte Creek is habitat for Bonneville Cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki utah). Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is the lead agency in developing and implementing the Range-Wide Conservation Agreement.

Old-growth Gambel oak (Quercus gambeli) groves grow in the University of Utah Heritage Preserve, Red Butte Canyon RNA, and Research Park.

The University of Utah campus includes winter range for the Red Butte Mule Deer population.

--Gambel Oak
--Riparian (Red Butte Creek)
--Urban habitats

--Red Butte Mule Deer population. In winter, mule deer move from Red Butte Canyon to lower elevations. Red Butte Garden and Arboretum is surrounded by a high fence designed to exclude mule deer.
--Mamalian Fauna & Avian Fauna listed at : http://redbuttecanyon.net

A brief description of plans or programs in place to protect or positively affect identified species, habitats and/or environmentally sensitive areas:

Red Butte Canyon is designated by the U.S. National Forest Service as a Research Natural Area.

University of Utah Heritage Preserve
On April 18, 2002, the U of U and Utah Open Lands signed a conservation easement to “preserve and maintain as natural and open space.”
URL: http://utahopenlands.org/heritage-preserve/

Friends of Red Butte Creek
During the spring 2012 semester, graduate students in the Global Change and Society (GCS) seminar at the University of Utah raised the possibility of incorporating Red Butte Creek into campus life, student education, and global research on urban streams. Friends of Red Butte Creek is affiliated with the Global Change and Sustainability Center at the University of Utah
URL: http://redbuttecreek.utah.edu/

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

Adjacent to University of Utah Campus:

Red Butte Canyon Research Natural Area (4640 acres)
Red Butte Canyon, a 7.25 square mile Research Natural Area, is located directly east of Salt Lake City and the University of Utah campus. In 1969, the U.S. Forest Service acquired Red Butte Canyon and designated it as a Research Natural Area. The Red Butte Canyon RNA is unique because it is a relatively undisturbed watershed adjacent to a major metropolitan area. Research in Red Butte Canyon is by permit only. The University of Utah offers courses in Biology, Ecology, Geology, and Meteorology with lab experiences involving the Red Butte Canyon RNA.
URL: http://redbuttecanyon.net/

Matheson Nature Preserve and Governors Groves (14 acres, Utah State Parks)
Adjacent to Research Park and This is the Place Heritage Park, managed by Scott M. Matheson Park Foundation. This urban nature preserve contains trees and vegetation present in the Salt Lake Valley when the pioneers arrived in 1847. Along the extensive
walking paths, visitors will encounter such vegetation as Big Sagebrush, Pinyon Pine, Hawthorn, Wild Roses, Rabbitbrush, and Chokecherry trees.
URL: http://static.stateparks.utah.gov/docs/mathesonparkbrochurefront.pdf

This is the Place Heritage Park (450 acres, Utah State Parks)
Owned by Utah State Parks and managed as a "Heritage Park," emphasizing cultural heritage. Since 1998, Park management has been outsourced to This Is The Place Foundation, a nonprofit organization, and planning documents are not currently available on the stateparks.utah.gov website
URL: http://www.thisistheplace.org/

Wasatch Mountain Foothills Open Space (U.S. Forest Service, Salt Lake Ranger District)
Vast acreage of U.S. National Forest Service (USFS) property lies to the east of Salt Lake City adjacent to the University of Utah. The USFS property is typically steep, mountainous terrain accessible only by foot trails. Wasatch Mountain Foothills provide an important habitat for wildlife and critical winter range for mule deer. Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County planning supports keeping this property in public ownership, undeveloped, with pedestrian access. The 216,000 acres comprising the Salt Lake Ranger District are often referred to as an "urban forest" due to their close proximity to Salt Lake City, the Intermountain west's largest and fastest growing metropolitan area. The mountainous terrain provides recreation opportunities for more than a million people in less than a 30 minute drive. 60% of the drinking water for Salt Lake City residents comes from land managed by the Salt Lake Ranger District under the "Wasatch-Cache National Forest Plan (2003).

Off-Campus Sites:

Bonderman Field Station at Rio Mesa (380 acres)
Established in 2008. Located along almost three miles of Dolores River in the magnificent red-rock country of southeastern Utah, The University of Utah's Bonderman Field Station at Rio Mesa provides opportunities for field-based interdisciplinary research, education, and other academic pursuits that emphasize ecology and the environment, human-environment interaction, or sustainable living on the Colorado Plateau.
URL: http://riomesa.utah.edu/


Ehleringer, Jim, Shaun Daniel, Sylvia Torti, Brenda Bowen & Tom Parks. Embedded in Nature: the University of Utah Field Stations. University of Utah. 2016.

Ehleringer, James R., Lois A. Arnow, Ted Arnow, Irving B. McNulty, Irving R. McNulty, and Norman C. Negus. "Red Butte Canyon Research Natural Area: history, flora, geology, climate, and ecology." The Great Basin Naturalist (1992): 95-121.

Salt Lake City Riparian Corridor Study: Final Red Butte Creek Management Plan. Salt Lake City Public Utilities, (2010).
"Because both the University of Utah and VA Medical Center manage large portions of Red Butte Creek within the RCS study area, specific meetings were held to facilitate their input into the management planning process. DPU and BIO-WEST met with University of Utah facilities management staff as well as Red Butte Garden staff on June 22, 2009. As a state government entity, the University is not legally required to follow the requirements of the City’s RCO ordinance. However, staff expressed an interest in the RCS study and in potential opportunities to collaborate with the City on improvement

"Final Environmental Impact Statement, Utah Museum of Natural History, New Museum Facility," (2006). Available from Hathi Trust Digital Library, https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/100984220

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.