Joanna Endter-Wada

Quinney College of Natural Resources

Utah State University

Bio:

Dr. Endter-Wada is a Professor of Natural Resource Policy and Social Science and Director of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Graduate Certificate Program. Her research focuses on conceptualizing and analyzing linkages between humans and biophysical aspects of ecosystems with emphasis on water, public land, forest resources, fisheries and urban landscapes. She is currently conducting research on urban landscape water use and conservation, human dimensions of drought and climate change, and wetland management. During her professional career, Dr. Endter-Wada has been involved in many interdisciplinary academic programs and research projects and served at state and federal levels in policy-related appointments.

Title : Recognizing Water, Wet+Land, and Land Interconnections in Protecting Great Salt Lake 

Thursday, May 10th, 9:40 AM

Abstract: Great Salt Lake and its wetlands are world-renowned for their migratory bird habitat but reduced water availability threaten both the lake and its wetlands. Over recent decades, wetland managers have acquired water rights and used physical impoundments to keep wetlands wet through critical parts of the growing season. However, some people consider wetland impoundments to be a direct threat to the water supply of the lake. We contend that to maintain the integrity of the Great Salt Lake ecosystem into the future, it must be viewed holistically. Such a view requires analyzing the bio-physical and policy connections between the lake, its surrounding wetlands, and land use change in the rapidly urbanizing Wasatch Front Metropolitan Area. Policy, management, and conservation efforts need to incorporate this whole ecosystem focus in order to avoid pitting scientists and policy advocates focused on particular aspects of the system against each other. We address both policy and ecological management ideas for ensuring that the lake and its wetlands are viewed as highly connected parts of a healthy arid region aquatic ecosystem. Our goal is to contribute to conversations about how the Great Salt Lake ecosystem can be protected in a future with projected climate changes, continued population and economic growth, and adjacent land use transformations. 

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Why We Care

  • We should bill the lake for what it is—a place of grandeur and solitude, which nourishes our thoughts and heightens our sensitivity to nature. Seen in that light, the brine flies become a fascinating curiosity more than an annoyance. The Great Salt Lake offers a wilderness experience, not a beach party, and no amount of promotion and development will change that.

    Dean L. May, Images of the Great Salt Lake