ENVIRONMENT

Legislation to protect the green around Utah’s rivers is here

Oct 20, 2023, 11:00 AM | Updated: 3:14 pm

The fall colors reflect in the Ogden River. Legislative discussions are underway to protect riparia...

The fall colors reflect in the Ogden River in Ogden on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2023. Legislative discussions are underway to protect riparian corridors as part of county and city plans.

SALT LAKE CITY — A new proposal aims to help Utah’s rivers remain beautiful, especially riparian corridors where the water meets our favorite trails.

It’s called the Riparian Corridor Bill, and it’s moving forward thanks to State Representative Gaylynn Bennion.

Riparian corridors are essentially the green around Utah’s rivers. They are the most important wildlife habitat in Utah.

The bill was proposed after a river restoration project in Ogden did wonders for the community, and under it other river-side communities in Utah would get the resources they’d need to clean up and maintain their waters. Other successful cleanups have happened in Lehi and Helper.

Bennion said it comes with more than just environmental benefits.

“It has brought in economic benefits, obviously mental health benefits to people that live there, and ecological benefits. The water quality improved,” Bennion said.

The proposal is hoping to raise $300,000 in grant money for river communities.

Executive Director of the Jordan River Commission Soren Simonsen said these corridors are also connected to our water history.

“Both drought and this year a lot of flooding, I think has just raised awareness about how important these corridors are and that they have to be very adaptable to different kinds of conditions whether its extreme lack of water or extreme abundance of water,” Simonsen said.

Communities like Ogden, Lehi, and Helper have been able to prevent flooding issues by taking care of their rivers. The bill should expand the effort across the state.

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Legislation to protect the green around Utah’s rivers is here