Erin Bragg


Impending Growth: Conservation Easements in the Upper Weber River Watershed as a Tool for Maintaining Health

The Weber River Watershed is used for municipal, agriculture, industrial, power generation, and wildlife purposes, and is one of the major water supplies for the Wasatch Front, serving approximately 21% of Utah’s population with drinking and irrigation water. It flows through 4 counties before emptying into the Great Salt Lake at Ogden Bay Waterfowl Management Area. Studies predict the population of the Wasatch Back is expected to double in the next ten years. This will include business and residential growth in Snyderville Basin, Kamas, Peoa, Wanship, all the way thru Henefer in Summit County. This significant growth has the potential to negatively impact the watershed, water quality and quantity, the quality of life, agriculture, recreational fishing, and ecological systems we value.

I purpose, in conjunction with willing landowners, the use of strategically placed conservation easements to allow the watershed to remain as healthy as possible while accommodating growth and maintaining value.

Erin Bragg received a Master of Science in Environmental Humanities from the University of Utah and used personal narrative and scientific research to examine agricultural land use practices on the Colorado Plateau as they relate to soil disturbance and spring dust storms effecting the snowmelt cycle. She began working with the Summit Land Conservancy in September 2012 as a stewardship intern and joined full time as the Conservation Director in January of 2013. Her career in non-profits has focused primarily on providing others with the tools and encouragement to get out into the natural environment and enjoy the outdoors.

After serving as the Summit Land Conservancy 2012 fall Stewardship Intern Erin has now stepped into the role of Conservation Director. She was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska where she realized mountains and open space in your backyard are essential. She moved to Utah in 1999 to pursue ski racing and has lived with her family in Park City since 2000. She received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Bates College in 2006 and a Master of Science in Environmental Humanities from the University of Utah in the fall of 2011. Erin’s thesis project presented a case for an environmental ethic to become part of the broader national ethic based on the physiological benefits from spending time in nature. She is a life long skier, hiker and boat(wo)man. This winter she is imparting knowledge to future generations of rippers on the Ogden Valley Winter Sports Foundation All Mountain team on the weekends. In her off time you can usually find her cruising the slopes at Deer Valley or Alta, and empowering girls through mentorship with the Salt Lake City based nonprofit SheJumps.

Avocet copperplate etching by Elizabeth Dewitte

Avocet copperplate etching by Elizabeth Dewitte