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

  • Several years ago I was enchanted by Alfred Lambourne’s romanticized paintings of the Great Salt Lake, so began my own quest to explore its islands and capture what I saw in quick, plein air, oil sketches.

    I made many day-trips to Black Rock and spent a significant amount of time camping on Stansbury and Antelope Islands, climbing their trails and swimming in their bays. My paintings became my diary as I observed the changing light and shadow on the rocks and water. The brine flies and gnats often hovered over my shoulder anxious to immortalize themselves in the sticky colorful oil paint.

    Kirk Henrichsen, Alfred Lambourne Prize Participant