In 2021, Conserve Utah Valley was a fledgling grassroots organization. We got our start when Bridal Veil Falls, a natural treasure of Utah Valley, was under threat of private development. After a few intense months of work, the Falls was preserved by an Utah Open Lands conservation easement and the State Monument status is in progress.
In that process we recognized a pattern that leads to successful conservation outcomes in our community:
- The WHY: The natural resources and beauty of Utah contribute to the high quality of life we enjoy here. But with growth these incredible, fragile assets are often put at risk. We want to ensure that these things are around for generations to come; this is our core WHY.
- The WHAT: To protect our land and water forever, it’s vital to create policy and permanent protections. These actions ensure future residents will have the same incredible resources and beauty to sustain high-quality of life in Utah.
- The HOW: Responsible, sustainable policy is created with diverse input. When residents, scientists, government agencies, and elected officials come together to create actions that provide long-term protections and resource management real change happens.
When our efforts shifted to protecting Utah Lake from island development we utilized this structure again. Preserving Utah Lake as the largest freshwater lake in our watershed was a compelling WHAT. Cleaning up the policy (HB 272)—the HOW—took a huge effort from residents, scientists, state agencies, and elected officials. But that effort paid off in big ways and the development proposal was rejected.
There’s still work to do in restoring Utah Lake, but now the policy requires that the restoration efforts be constitutional, fiscally responsible, and be deemed feasible by experts given responsibility for lake management.
CUV is still proudly local and led by volunteers. We’ve learned exactly how powerful and effective a grassroots movement can be, and are ready to expand our skilled reach.
A new WHAT: Saving the Great Salt Lake.
Our saline lake, connected to Utah Lake by the Jordan River, is in dire need. As we look at the future, it’s clear that the larger watershed is vital to the quality of life today and in the future. And the WHAT and HOW for Great Salt Lake need to be done as soon as possible.
We’re excited to announce that CUV has partnered with an incredible group of motivated Utah residents, scientists, and policy experts to form a working group focused on restoring and protecting Great Salt Lake. Grow The Flow will operate under the CUV umbrella, but has a dedicated staff of volunteers and student interns.
Grow the Flow has one main goal: GET MORE WATER TO GREAT SALT LAKE.
Grow the Flow has four “pillars” or initiatives. First, grow a community of 100,000 citizens for a public action network focused on changing the political landscape to favor water conservation. Second, Grow the Flow is bringing together scientists, engineers, and innovators from the public and private sectors in a research coordination network to solve technical challenges such as water monitoring and water use efficiency. Third, Grow the Flow is working with policy experts and lawmakers to develop and support innovative water legislation to reverse the lake’s decline. Finally, Grow the Flow is seeking to grow the financial support for Great Salt Lake through fundraising and outreach
The leadership team for Grow the Flow includes Ben Abbott, executive director, Rachel Wood, scientific director, and Brigham Daniels, policy director. The group has also partnered with BYU’s Ballard Center for Social Impact, housed in the Marriott School of Business, the Stegner Center at the University of Utah Law School, and Silicon Slopes Prosperity Coalition. A network of university student chapters is also in development.
For more information about Grow the Flow and how you can get involved right now, please visit: growtheflowutah.org.
The core focus of Conserve Utah Valley will remain protecting land and water in Utah Valley forever. You’ll continue to see us engaged with Utah Lake, Provo Canyon, Slate Canyon, the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, conservation of agricultural land, and more. However, because of the widespread implications of the collapse of the Great Salt ecosystem, we feel obligated to expand our focus northward.
As you hear from and interact with Conserve Utah Valley through our email updates, social channels, and on this blog, our primary focus will remain Utah Valley-centered projects. Efforts related to Grow The Flow will be shared on Instagram @growtheflowutah, Facebook, Twitter and a email newsletter, which you can sign up for at www.growtheflowutah.org.
We can’t wait to see all the good that comes from Grow the Flow.
Thank you for your continued support. We appreciate each one of you and your efforts in conserving land and water across Utah.