Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 65.48
Liaison Amy Brunvand
Submission Date Oct. 21, 2020

STARS v2.2

University of Utah
IN-47: Innovation A

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.50 / 0.50 Amy Brunvand
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Wasatch Environmental Observatory (WEO), 2018

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:

A network created from existing observation/measurement stations and research infrastructure on Utah’s Wasatch Front makes University of Utah research data into an interdisciplinary foundation to inform sustainable change at the university and within the surrounding region.

WEO is a project of the Global Change & Sustainability Center that integrates existing fixed and mobile field-based research infrastructure in the region surrounding the University of Utah into a world-class distributed observational facility that supports hydrological, meteorological, atmospheric, ecological, and related environmental research and training. Data gathered by the network enables the study of complex interactions between climate, landscape, surface water, groundwater and society in order to catalyze the design of solutions for pressing sustainability challenges. A combination of long-term data with active observation allows WEO to serve as a unique natural laboratory. Taking advantage of biodiversity areas located on or near the University of Utah campus (See OP-10), research infrastructure is distributed across seven catchments and spans an elevation range of over 2000m in a linear distance of ~25km, located in both protected wilderness areas and densely populated urban environments. ; mobile air pollution monitors mounted on TRAX light rail; and snow study sites in the Wasatch Mountains. As of 2018, nearly 40 researchers from 13 different departments and eight colleges already have research or outreach projects associated with WEO.
Examples of WEO Affiliated Projects
• Gradient Along Mountain to Urban Transitions (GAMUT), incorporates hydrologic monitoring stations supported by the NSF-funded iUTAH project that ran from 2012-2018. URL: https://iutahepscor.org/data_modeling/gamut.php
• Atmospheric Trace Gas & Air Quality (U ATAQ), includes mobile air pollution monitors mounted on TRAX light rail to monitor air pollution throughout the Salt Lake urban area. URL: https://air.utah.edu/
• Land-Atmosphere Interactions Research (LAIR) Group, mobile pollution mapping using Google Street View cars. URL: http://lair.utah.edu/urban.html
• Red Butte Canyon Ozone Network, monitors ozone levels along the Red Butte Creek watershed. URL: https://deq.utah.gov/air-quality/the-red-butte-canyon-ozone-network-leveraging-existing-infrastructure-to-probe-background-concentrations-canyon-flows-and-stratospheric-oxidant-exchange.

Which of the following impact areas does the innovation most closely relate to? (select up to three):
Air & Climate

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :
The website URL where information about the innovation is available :
Additional documentation to support the submission:


Gabrielsen, Paul, "The Wasatch Front: A Living Lab," @TheU, September 17, 2018.


Brooks, Paul D., James R. Ehleringer, Brenda B. Bowen, Gabriel J. Bowen, David R. Bowling, Steven J. Burian, Philip E. Dennison et al. "Red Butte Creek and the Wasatch Environmental Observatory: A Mountain to Urban Research Facility in the Semi-arid Western US." In AGU Fall Meeting 2019 (9-13 December 2019).

Hinners, Sarah, Diane Pataki, Rose Smith,” Interdisciplinary Green Infrastructure Research for Northern Utah: Social, Ecological and Hydrological Sciences Across Multiple Sites,” USU Spring Runoff Conference, Logan, UT: March 26, 2019.

Sample data set from WEO on Hydroshare.
URL: https://www.hydroshare.org/resource/aff4e6dfc09a4070ac15a6ec0741fd02/

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