Conservation Actions

To address threats in the Escalante River system, the Escalante River Watershed Partnership has:

  • Developed an assessment to identify areas of conservation concern for native fish species
  • Removed nonnative fish from approximately 17 miles of stream
  • Opened access to 13 miles of stream by removing barriers to fish passage
  • Restored native riparian vegetation which will improve habitat complexity for native fish
  • Continued to survey and monitor fish populations to determine conservation actions

 

Fish-passage-friendly road crossing in Dixie Natural Forest

Fish-passage-friendly road crossing in Dixie Natural Forest

Seeps, Springs, and Hanging Gardens

 

Numerous seeps, springs, and hanging gardens exist throughout the Escalante River watershed.  These features occur where water trapped in large, sandstone aquifers discharges at the surface along canyon walls or in alcoves formed by the action of the spring water.

Although often isolated, these features provide a dependable source of water in an otherwise arid landscape. During periods of extreme drought they offer a place of refuge to a number species that are unique to the region. Collectively, they supply water to the riparian zones along the Escalante River and associated tributaries.  These unique ecosystems occupy a small portion of the landscape, yet they harbor important sources of biological diversity across the entire region.

springs and seepsDespite the importance of these unique ecosystems, very little is known about their frequency, location, volume and quality of discharged water, and the flora/fauna which rely upon and inhabit these features. The Escalante River Watershed Partnership is in the process of developing plans to inventory and monitor seeps and springs within the Escalante River watershed, to supplement a survey of over 40 such sites already completed by the National Park Service. Specific activities will include locating and mapping seeps and springs, measuring spring discharge and water quality at each location, along with listing the plant and invertebrate species found. Long-term monitoring of select sites within the watershed will provide insight as to how ecological conditions change in response to large-scale shifts in factors like precipitation and temperature. The Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems: Level 1 Inventory Field Guide will be utilized to ensure uniform inventory and monitoring protocols throughout the watershed.