Utah lost approximately 30% of its wetland acreage from the late 1700s to the 1980s. Many wetlands in the state continue to be at risk due to human-caused disturbances. Monitoring and assessment data are vital for understanding Utah’s wetlands and supporting more focused conservation efforts by land managers.
Monitoring and assessment are core elements suggested by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the development and implementation of state and tribal wetland programs. The EPA suggests a three-tiered structure for monitoring and assessment activities.
- Level 1 represents landscape-scale assessments. These assessments are typically implemented at the watershed scale using GIS and remotely sensed data to evaluate the condition and distribution of wetland resources.
- Level 2 represents rapid site assessments that are used to provide a general understanding of the condition or function in a wetland using simple, observable metrics that reflect more complex processes.
- Level 3 assessments are intensive monitoring that provides quantitative data for developing a more detailed understanding of the relationship between the causes and responses of observed conditions.