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A process where water is strained cleaned of contaminants as the water passes through natural filters such as sand, soil, grass, and gravel. This filtration system leaves the water far cleaner than it started, allowing it to safely reenter our aquifer without additional chemical treatment.


This is bioretention in action; a bioswale is a physical landscape element that removes pollution and contaminants simply by catching water and then slowly draining and simultaneously filtering it. Bioswales also have the added benefit of preventing flooding by capturing large volumes of water during heavy rain and spring snow-melt.


Simply an area or place that catches surface water and drains it to a single point, such as a basin or gully.  


Daylighting is the act of taking creeks that were once hidden or concealed and restoring them to their natural places above ground. This is done carefully and consciously to repair the natural ecosystems that were damaged when the creeks were first buried. To see examples of this please visit our PRECEDENTS page.

Daylighting can exist in several forms, including:

  • Natural daylight - restoring a creek to natural conditions and channels;
  • Architectural daylight - restoring a creek to open air conditions, but within a constructed, typically concrete channel; or
  • Cultural daylight - celebration of a buried creek through markers or public art used to inform the public of the historic creek path, although the creek remains buried.


A temporary relief from a specific part of a zoning ordinance. A reduced setback for a house or permission to build on a steeper slope would be examples of easements.


The place where two different ecosystems meet, simultaneously putting them in conflict and resolve.


A creek that flows only during rainfall or snowmelt but then shrink to become individual pools filled with water. Even with discontinuous flow, these creeks can provide habitat for distinct species well adapted to these conditions.


Natural or engineered systems that enhance overall environmental quality and provide services by protecting, restoring, or replicating natural ecosystem function. These techniques include the use of soil and vegetation for infiltration, evapotranspiration, and/or recycle stormwater runoff.


Traditional stormwater management infrastructure; engineered systems to capture and convey runoff, such as gutters, storm sewers, tunnels, culverts, detention basins, and related systems.


The smallest creeks in a watershed network, which are the source of water for large rivers and bodies of water. These creeks can take on many forms, from small, heavily shaded springs, to those that flow intermittently from snow melt or rain.


Referring to the properties, distribution, and effects of water on the earth's surface, in the soil and underlying rocks, and in the atmosphere.


An impermeable barrier prevents water from passing through, such as concrete and most kinds of asphalt.


A creek that flows continuously for only portions of the year. Research has shown that these creeks, even those without any flow at all, provide habitat for numerous fish species.


A land trust is a non-profit organization dedicated to conserving and preserving land. As the Seven Canyons Trust we are actively working to preserve and daylight the seven creeks of the Salt Lake Valley.

NUTrient Rentention

A creek's ability to store and transform nutrients by nutrient pollution removal. With more water in contact with the creek channel, nutrients are trapped in uneven, rocky pockets and woody debris. Fungi, bacteria, algae, and aquatic insects consume nutrients and convert them into less harmful, more useful materials. Vegetation, in-river and on the creek banks, utilize nutrients to regulate growth. Without this uptake, harmful algal blooms can be triggered downstream as nitrogen and phosphorus accumulate, causing areas of low dissolved oxygen.

Permeable Barrier

A permeable barrier is a material that allows water to pass through it, often as part of a bioretention system, such as gravel, sand, or permeable asphalt.


A creek flows continuously throughout the year, providing unique habitat diversity that create niches for diverse organisms, including species of invertebrates, amphibians, and fish. They also provide refuge during specific animal life stages, such as steelhead, rainbow, and cutthroat trout, who migrate to these creeks to spawn.


Precipitation that becomes polluted as it flows over driveways, streets, parking lots, construction sites, agricultural fields, lawns, and industrial areas. Pollutants include oils, grease, sediment, fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, bacteria, debris, and litter. Stormwater washes these pollutants into the storm sewer system or local creeks, and on into downstream waters. Impermeable barriers exacerbate damage downstream by increasing runoff loads and velocities that scour creek and river channels, creating erosion and sediment problems.

Urban Ecology

 This is the study of how humans interact with their built and natural environments. Great effort is put towards understanding the personal relationships between people and their cities, and how the two affect and react to each other. 


The region draining into a river, river system, or body of water. The seven canyon creeks drain into the Jordan River, ultimately ending in the Great Salt Lake. The watershed, in which the seven creeks drain to, is called the Jordan Watershed.


The process used to establish or distinguish an area from other similar areas for a specific purpose.

Email us HERE with any other terms you would like us to include in our Glossary.