Need For Project:
With the completion of the engineering phase and, having construction ready project to address the urban development grow of future storm water quality and quantity issues. Increased flows are anticipated, and concerns have already arisen, on how to best deal with the treatment and disbursement of this water in a beneficial and economical manner. The end goal of the project will create treatment wetlands that will treat storm water runoff essentially for free, after the initial cost to construct the project. This project will provide improvement in water quality for the local area and the larger Great Salt Lake ecosystem. Another important need is to maintain and restore natural wetlands that historically were associated with the Great Salt Lake freshwater zones. Due to the significant urban development along the eastern lake shore of the Great Salt Lake which has disrupted natural drainage patterns, the wetlands in this area have become completely dependent on irrigation return flows and/or storm-water runoff. As agricultural practices diminish in the area due to urban development, storm water flows will provide a much larger portion of the water that will support these historical wetlands. This project will help The Nature Conservancy to provide stormwater and subsequent vital irrigation to restore or enhance lost or degraded wetlands that are so important to the health of the local ecosystem.
Water quality monitoring will provided before and after data to achieve the best picture of how the completed project has effective water quality entering the Great Salt Lake ecosystem.
The objective is to complete the engineering which includes if needed: topographical surveying, design, prepare plans and documents, wetland delineation, bidding support, Section 106 / Cultural Clearance and any permits application and management. Once the engineering is completed this project will be construction ready for the creation approximately 40 acres of new emergent marsh and open water habitats on the Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve and restore and protection natural wetlands that are historically associated with the Great Salt Lake fresh water zones on State of Utah Sovereign Lands. The goal of the Water quality monitoring data will provide information on the performance of wetlands in improving water quality of entering the Great Salt Lake.
Threats / Risks:
As the Wasatch front continues to grow storm water is an increasing problem. With these storm flows debris, garbage, sediment and nutrients are becoming and increasing problem. Along with increased storm flow we are losing water that was originally excess flow from agricultural irrigation. This has caused a decrease in the function of wetlands along the Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve as well as State Sovereign Land. Flash flows also increase the spread of phragmites by sheetflowing across areas with little to no ability to manage the water or water depth. This project will also help us to reduce the impact of storm water on adjacent wetlands as well as manage storm water flows. We will then be able to also retain it for future use downstream in newly created wetlands. By reducing sediment we also mitigate the effects of deposition in wetlands that reduces their function. Being able to mitigate flows will help with the spread of phragmites by maintaining deeper water levels and allowing higher flows to pass into managed wetlands or downstream without spreading across drier upland areas. These issues will only continue to grow and get worse unless steps are put in place. We have already completed several like projects with our partners with great success.
Relation To Management Plan:
This project falls within The Nature Conservancy's long-term management plan for the Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve.
This also meets objectives in the Wildlife Action Plan (WAP) such as:
Other Ecosystem Modifications
Objective #2 for Other Ecosystem Modifications Land management agencies and agents develop vegetation management projects that avoid, minimize, or mitigate impacts to species and habitats identified as vulnerable to these threats such as brush eradication.
Habitat modification and loss is being mitigated by perennial plantings, food plots and shrub rows.
Objective #1 for Sediment Transport Imbalance
Opportunities are found and taken, to modify or remove reservoir infrastructure, or modify outflow management, to simulate or return natural sediment transport.
The continual build-up of sediments in GSL wetlands is a major problem that can lead to decreased open water areas, shallower water depths that do not maximize the production of submerged aquatic vegetation, and promotes invasive plant species. The WMA's management relies on water control structures that can be used to help pass through unwanted sediments and maintain a highly diverse and functional wetland.
Objective #1 for Droughts
Terrestrial SGCNs and key habitats persist on the landscape, despite increasing drought conditions.
Drought condition over that past several years has reduced the resilience of highly functional upland habitats. In order to maintain, and rehabilitate these upland habitats, renovation and reseeding is necessary in order to minimize the impacts of drought. Actions that this project will address include;
2.3.14 Conduct upland vegetation treatments to restore characteristic upland vegetation, and reduce uncharacteristic fuel types and loadings.
3.3.1 Develop list of priority reintroduction species and locations
Objective #2 for Droughts
Aquatic SGCNs and key habitats persist on the landscape, despite increasing drought conditions.
Drought conditions over the past several years has made it imperative that the WMA's have properly functioning water control structures to maximize water deliveries in order to maintain key wetland habitats. Actions that this project will address include;
2.3.6 Restore aquatic habitat complexity
2.3.15 Conduct riparian vegetation treatments to restore characteristic riparian vegetation, and reduce uncharacteristic fuel types and loadings.
Fire / Fuels:
The purpose of this project is not specifically tied to fire or fuels reduction it will directly impact out long-term management which will help us manage buildup of fuel loads, mainly with regards to phragmites control. Currently we have little to no control of the water from the freeport drain. Flows in recent years have become larger with storm events and have increased dramatically due to increased urban runoff. The project will help us control those flashy storm flows and distribute the water more evenly or periodically terminate flows to different areas to help us maintain habitat. These uncontrolled flows cause areas to flood increasing the footprint of Phragmites. The project will enable us to manage the presence or emergence of Phragmites stands by either flooding or drying. This will help in the removal and treatment of this plant thus reducing fuel load. We have had several lightening caused wildfires and one man made in the arear in past years. They were in existing Phragmites stands we cannot control water depth and flow and treat effectively. These fires could be become a major issue with the increased urban development and North Davis Corridor Highway on our boundaries. Water Control is key for management of Phragmites.
Once the project is completed, the benefits to water quality will be realized through removal of large and small-scale particulate matter that has been incorporated into the stormwater. There are four categories of materials that will be removed from the water by the project:
1) Large low density floating trash, such as (paper, plastic miscellaneous garbage) will be remove. It is estimated to be 14.25 tons annually.
2) Coarse high density sediment (sand and gravel) will be sorted and settled automatically in the pre-treatment structure with the use of a deep settling basin. Material will fall to the bottom of the sump and remain trapped until removal by a track hoe and dump truck. The amount of course sediment estimated to be removed by the project is approximately is 390 cubic yards annually.
3) Fine sediment (colloidal material) and organic matter (Vegetation/ Grass Clippings / Animal Feces etc.) will generally not be retained by the pre-treatment structure and will flow into the existing or constructed wetlands where it will settle to the bottom of the constructed ponds or be filtered by the standing wetland vegetation.The fine sediment will mostly remain in the wetland cells where it will accumulate over time until it can be excavated by heavy equipment.
The amount of fine sediment and organic matter estimated to be removed by the project is approximately is 200 cubic yards annually.
4) Dissolved particulates and chemicals are substances that are dissolved and dispersed in the water column that cannot be removed by screening or settling and must be removed by mechanical or biological methods. The project will provide biological methods that utilize vegetative filtering and phyto-remediation action that will allow for dissolved particulates to be removed through natural processes over time. Substances of concern that can be removed by the natural filtering and phyto-remediation process of wetlands are: Heavy Metals (Copper, Chromium, Lead, Mercury etc...) Hydrocarbons (Motor Oil, Hydraulic Fluid, Gasoline, Diesel etc...) Fertilizers and Pesticides. Many of these substances are filtered and absorbed by the wetlands as a natural process of absorption and the wetland cells will moderate the quantity and quality of the storm water to reduce dissolved particulates and chemical impurities in the range of 9 - 880 Pounds per Acre per Year depending on the ambient temperature, density of wetlands, type of wetland and infiltration vegetation species. For this location and type of wetland complex an average of 125 Pounds per Acre per Year is estimated. For this project of 48.50 acres this will equate to an estimated removal of approximately 6,063 pounds per year or 3 tons annually.
This project will comply with all Army Corps regulations and Archaeological clearance as well as appropriate stream alteration permits and any other permits required.
The goal is to have Equinox Engineering under contract by May 1, 2021, and the Engineering Phase completed by June 30, 2021. We have completed an initial engineering cost estimate, TNC has a number of private donors interested in funding the project, once funds are available the construction phase of the project will be put out to bid and appropriate contractor selected. TNC along with our engineer will oversee any construction conducted and ensure it is within the project specifications. All equipment and labor will be provided by the contractor. Water quality monitoring protocol will be prepared by TNC staff, Davis County Health Department, and retired USGS Utah Hydrologist.
Vegetation monitoring will be conducted by TNC staff utilizing photo-points as well as bird surveys conducted by the Utah Wild Project every two weeks throughout the year and bat surveys in conjunction with Utah DWR conducted by TNC volunteer. Easement monitoring will be conducted by Utah Department of Agriculture. All monitoring and surveys will be conducted for a minimum period of three years after completion of the project. Water Quality monitoring and reports will be conducted by TNC staff and volunteers All reports/photos will be available to WRI.
Every effort has been made to keep all partners informed and engaged during the planning, design and implementation processes of the Freeport Drain Wetlands Project.
Partners on the project will include:
Wild Utah Project, Janice Gardner
Utah Reclamation, Mitigation and Conservation Commission, Mark Holden
UDOT, Randy Jefferies
Equinox Engineering, Chris Christiansen also has provide in-kind donation to this project.
Utah Wetlands Foundation, Maunsel Pierce also has provided funded for the engineering of this project.
Half Circle Cross Ranch: Colby Pace, Owner.
KO Ranch: Kipp O'Brien, Owner.
Layton City: Engineer Department.
Kody Wallace, TNC Bat Volunteer Surveyor
Davis County Commissioner Randy Elliott.
The Utah Department of Agriculture: Roberta Valdez, Program Manager Conservation Easement
DWR Farmington Bay, Jason Jones
Davis Count6y Health Department Ed Parker
Retired USGS Utah Hydrologist Sue Thiros
The Freeport Drain is part of the larger Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve owned and operated by The Nature Conservancy. The area managed encompasses approximately 4,654 acres. These areas have endowments in place for future management as well as TNC staff, whose time is dedicated for management of these preserves. TNC are wholly invested in the project areas and will continue with the long-term management. This area will be managed in accordance with the existing management plan for The Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve.
Sustainable Uses of Natural Resources:
The Freeport Drain and associated landscapes are currently used for a variety of activites. Currently TNC utilizes a winter grazing program. This program helps to reduce fuel loads on the preserve as well as help with invasive species. With the implementation of this project we will be able to better distribute water across the landscape for wildlife habitat. This project will also help us to irrigate more effectively. With this increased irrigation we can produce more cover for nesting birds during the breading season and increased forage for cattle during the winter months. This project will also help the surrounding wetlands were we allow waterfowl hunting by creating more opportunity for hunters. TNC also conducts an education program adjacent to the Freeport Drain at our visitor center during the fall/spring school time. This program is used to teach fourth grade students the importance of wetlands and the Great Salt Lake. This project will enhance visitor experience by creating additional wetlands around the visitor center and can also be used as a site for further education activities. The visitor center is currently open to the general public 365 days a year.