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Current Conditions

Over 21 miles of the seven canyon creeks of Utah’s Wasatch Range are buried in underground culverts. Additionally, 143 miles of these aboveground waterways are impaired under the Clean Water Act’s 303(d) List of Impaired Waters. The Seven Creeks | Walk Series, funded by the Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts & Parks Program, engages local residents in walking conversations and collaborative action along buried and impaired creek reaches. This program targets underserved communities, who face challenges related to creek burial and channelization, loss of green space, and environmental justice. Participants observe and share stories, insights, and visions to explore ways to better manage and restore their hydrology. If you would like to participate, please fill out the form below. To schedule an event, you must have a group of at least ten participants. If you do not have a group of ten, check the Events page for upcoming opportunities.

 

Background

  Participants chalk fish in the channel of an urban intervention representing Red Butte, Emigration, and Parley's Creek.

Participants chalk fish in the channel of an urban intervention representing Red Butte, Emigration, and Parley's Creek.

The geographic stratification of income in the Salt Lake valley to the upper east-side has concentrated crime and drug-use in diverse, low-income neighborhoods on the west-side. The tributaries slip underground as they flow west, passing unseen through west-side neighborhoods until spilling into the Jordan River. Loss of green space and water quality impairments, due to creek burial, have left many residents without access to nature or connectivity via riparian corridors and pathways.

 

Progress

  A Westminster student peeks into the culvert containing Emigration Creek.

A Westminster student peeks into the culvert containing Emigration Creek.

The Seven Creeks | Walk Series advocates for a more democratic community engagement process that gives underserved populations a voice in addressing environmental justice concerns, such as water quality impairments, degrading public health, economic vulnerabilities, and quality of life. In 2016, the program engaged over 200 people to highlight almost seven miles of buried and impaired waterway. Through a series of urban intervention – short-term low-cost projects to catalyze long-term change – participants make the invisible visible. They’ve created about 900 feet of short-term visual representation of the underground creeks to draw attention to the buried waters and foster community support for daylighting.

Program Funders