Karin M. Kettenring

Quinney College of Natural Resources

Utah State University 

Bio:

Dr. Karin Kettenring is a faculty member in the Department of Watershed Sciences, Quinney College of Natural Resources, Utah State University in Logan, Utah. She has a B.A. in biology from Oberlin College. She received her Ph.D. in applied plant sciences from the University of Minnesota where she worked with Dr. Susan Galatowitsch. Her Ph.D. research focused on restoration of sedges in prairie pothole wetlands. She was also a Postdoctoral Fellow with Dr. Dennis Whigham at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center where she studied the invasion of Phragmites australis in Chesapeake Bay tidal wetlands. She has been a faculty member at USU since 2008. Her current research efforts focus on (1) the ecology, genetics, and management of wetland invaders, (2) seed ecology of native wetlands plants, with implications for wetland revegetation, (3) restoration genetics for sustainable, functioning wetland restorations​, and (4) drought effects on wetlands​ and potential policy/management solutions.

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

Thursday, May 10, 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

  • Sunday evening in March 2016, our family visited Black Rock Beach to view the Great Salt Lake. My one year old son just loved running up and down the beach, and touching his toes in the salty water. It was evening and as the sun settled in the west, the lake came alive with previously hidden texture and beauty. We watched in awe as the magnificence of the lake reviled itself, and I just had to capture the moment with my camera.

    Julie Meadows, Alfred Lambourne Prize Participant