Land & Environment

Water is Focal Point at USU's Research Landscapes Talk in Salt Lake City

Michelle Baker will discuss how Utah's landscapes contribute to the health of cities and their residents, and how the changing population and economy necessitates a closer look into the ways Utah uses water at Research Landscapes June 18.

Utah is experiencing an explosion in population and a changing economy. These conditions are transforming the way the state uses water, particularly in the case of urbanization. As this trend continues, finding balance and realizing the importance of sustaining the state’s water resources will become an increasingly critical topic of conversation and a priority among Utah’s decision makers.

Utah State University’s Research Landscapes will address the multi-faceted topic of water at 4 p.m., Tuesday, June 18, at the O.C. Tanner Headquarters, 1930 State Street, Salt Lake City, Utah. 

Michelle Baker, an associate dean and professor of biology at USU, will discuss how Utah’s landscapes contribute to the health of cities and their residents, and how the changing population and economy necessitates a closer look into the ways Utah uses water. 

For 131 years, USU has sought to answer relevant questions through rigorous research and to provide outreach to the public through learning, discovery and engagement. With this backdrop in mind, USU created the Research Landscapes series to provide a venue to discuss the challenges facing Utah’s most important natural resources — land, water and air — with Utah’s business leaders, policymakers, community leaders and state agency representatives. 

“We believe presenting unbiased, academically scrupulous research that affects the lives of every Utahan on a variety of significant fronts, in an engaging forum, will elevate the dialogue on these consequential issues,” said USU President Noelle E. Cockett.

Baker joins Tim Hawkes, from the Utah House of Representatives, who will provide remarks at the event before Baker’s presentation. Nathan Bracken, a partner at the law firm of Smith Hartvigsen with experience in water rights, water quality and public policy, will provide closing remarks. 

Utah State University and its water specialists are among the nation’s — and even the world’s —leading experts on many water-related issues, particularly in the area of management, climate, water education and society’s understanding of the precious resource. Research projects from a variety of disciplines contribute to a vast understanding and applications for the resource. 

For example, USU researchers seek to address roadblocks to water re-use and understand what chemicals remain in Utah’s wastewater, even after its been treated, while another team has created a custom software application that integrates water meter data, weather data and landscape imagery to compare landscape water use to landscape water need. 

The Research Landscapes event will include a networking reception, where USU researchers will be on hand to answer questions. The event will also showcase more than 30 USU research projects that can serve as important resources for shaping water-use decisions in Utah.

Launched earlier this year, Research Landscapes is a series of three events designed to provide critical research findings within Utah’s most important natural resources—land, water and air,  to Utah civic, community and business leaders.

For more information about Research Landscapes, visit


Anna McEntire
Office of Research
Executive Director, Project Management


Research 538stories Water 128stories Environment 126stories Landscapes 42stories

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