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Conservation in the West poll again highlights concern for water issues

Feb 17, 2022, 5:12 PM | Updated: 5:13 pm
utah drought soil moisure conservation in the west...
File photo: A marker buoy is grounded on the dried-up shore of Echo Reservoir at Echo State Park during a drought on Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021. Photo: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah voters are increasingly concerned about the impacts of climate change. That’s according to the annual “Conservation in the West” poll sponsored by Colorado College.

And for the second year in a row, the annual poll found that Black, Latinx, and Native American voters worry more about climate change issues than white voters. 

These communities were also more in favor of bold conservation policies.

Conservation in the West poll methods and results

The poll, sponsored by Colorado College, surveys eight western states, including Utah. Residents of those states expressed concerns about water issues including drought and decreasing snowpacks.

The number of Utahns concerned about the future of nature registered at 66% this year, up from last year, according to Lori Weigel, one of the lead pollsters.

“Last year we thought folks were feeling a little glum,” Weigel said, “potentially the pandemic bleeding into their sentiments about nature as well. But we see that’s been exacerbated this year.”

Another big concern for Utahns is water. The survey found this concern is bipartisan; 92% of Utah voters surveyed voiced concerns about drought.

Among all voters surveyed in the Rockies, people were more concerned about climate change than in previous years. And the survey found that respondents feel less hopeful about the future now than in the past.

The survey also found that, while people across the Intermountain West worry about conservation issues, when asked if their elected officials represent those concerns well, most people didn’t know.

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Conservation in the West poll again highlights concern for water issues