Erica Gaddis

Assistant Director

Utah Division of Water Quality


Dr. Erica Gaddis, Assistant Director, Utah Division of Water Quality, manages the Planning and Assessment Branch which includes development of water quality standards, monitoring and assessment of Utah’s surface waters, and development of water quality plans (TMDLs) to protect high quality waters and restore impaired waters. Erica holds a B.S. in Biology and Environmental Science from Willamette University in Oregon. She received her MS as a Fulbright Scholar at Central European University in Budapest, Hungary with a focus in ecological design. Her subsequent work in that field included remediation of a polluted urban sewage canal in eastern China and a large natural wastewater treatment system installed in Maryland. She received her Ph.D. in Natural Resources from the University of Vermont, Gund Institute for Ecological Economics. Her dissertation focused on cost optimization of management practices to improve water quality using a spatially explicit dynamic watershed model. Erica returned to her native Salt Lake City in 2006 to raise her family and contribute to the protection and restoration of Utah’s water resources. Prior to joining UDEQ, Erica worked as a consultant with expertise in watershed modeling, limnology, water quality, Clean Water Act compliance, nutrient management, and restoration of aquatic systems. Dr. Gaddis has co-authored numerous publications in water resources, ecological indicators, and participatory modeling.

Panelist: Panel on Proposed Bear River Water Development

3:35-4:50pm Thursday, May 12th

Title: Water Quality Considerations of Bear River Development and the Need for Integrated Management in the Great Salt Lake Basin

Abstract: Although the Bear River Development project focuses on issues of water quantity, there are several important water quality considerations that DWQ will be evaluating. First, any reduction in flow in the Bear River and to Great Salt Lake will reduce dilution of point and nonpoint source discharge and could result in increased concentrations of pollutants. The Bear River is already listed as impaired in Utah’s Integrated Report and implications of the Bear River Development on wasteloads developed for permits and total maximum daily loads will need to be reviewed. Second, delivery of additional water to municipal users along the Wasatch Front will require additional infrastructure for wastewater treatment. The costs of this infrastructure should be considered alongside the costs of water development. Third, the location of the reservoirs will affect habitat and water quality in specific waters that are altered through construction. Finally, the Bear River Project will likely require a 401 water quality certification to ensure that the project will not violate water quality standards. Management of the basin that drains to Great Salt Lake is handled by many more local, state, and federal agencies, all with different and sometimes conflicting mandates. Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) is critical for long-term sustained management of the lake and river and should be supported by robust research activities that reflect the biophysical and legal complexity in the Great Salt Lake basin.  Research that can be used to assess and forecast the response of the Bear River and Great Salt Lake to changes in regional climate, basin hydrology, water reuse, demographics, and land use change will be critical to successful management of these important waters. Recent efforts, funded through the Department of Natural Resources, to develop modeling tools that can be used by multiple agencies are an excellent first step towards this goal.