Emigration Creek Project

Ecology 340

Westminster College, Salt Lake City, Utah

Ryan Gillespie

Emigration Creek Watershed

Map of the Emigration Creek Watershed
General Overview of the Watershed
Importance of the Watershed

Map of the Emigration Creek Watershed

Pink= Private Ownership
Green= Wasatch-Cache National Forest
Orange= Owned by Salt Lake City

General Overview of the Watershed:

-The Emigration Creek Watershed encompasses approximately 16.48 square miles. Forty percent of the watershed is privately owned (6.52 square miles). Thirtythree percent of the watershed is owned by Salt Lake City (5.48 square miles). The remaining twentyseven percent of the watershed is National forest land (4.48 square miles).

-Weather stations at Hoogle Zoo (1990-1999), the University of Utah (1949-1990), and Mt. Dell (1948-1999) have monitored the watershed over the years. The watershed receives approximately 15.24 cm of annual runoff, and the watershed receives 56.51cm of precipitation annually.
Importance of the Watershed:

-This area of the Wasatch Mountains indicate that the watershed is covered by approximately 50% sandstone, 25% limestone, 25% mudstone, and other miscellaneous rock types. This data was collected by students in the Natural World Class, Fall Semester 2000, from 40 rocks taken from the creek bed.

-The Emigration Creek Watershed is important because it provides a source of water and minerals for all of the life that lives on the watershed. The Emigration Creek ecosystem is an aquatic one, meaning that all life found on the creek depends upon the watershed in some way, shape, or form. For example, most of the energy that becomes available for organisms to use is a result of leaves being washed downstream by storms or the annual spring runoff. The leaves are then decomposed by fungi and other decomposers in the creek. Minerals from the decomposing leaves are then absorbed by diatoms and cladophora for their growth. Snails and other invertebrates eat the algae. The snails and leeches are then eaten by trout. As one can see, the watershed is ultimately responsible for the cycling of energy and minerals within the ecosystem. Without the watershed none of this would be possible.

-The watershed has a paved road and subdivisions with septic tank systems. Both of these things greatly impact the water quality during storm run-off events. Also, a system of storm drains are channeled into Emigration Creek. These storm drains collect water from the subdivisions near Hoogle Zoo, Bonneville Golf Course, and Foothill Drive in Salt Lake City. These storm drains act to further degrade the quality of the water by the time it reaches the Westminster College Campus.


-Alger, Jared; Clayton, Sarah; Franke, Kathleen; Mayers, Ryanne; Rice, Jonathan (2000). Biology 102, section 3, The Natural World, Westminster College, Salt Lake City Utah.

-Boryant, Bruce (1994), Geologic Map of Salt Lake City, 30x60' Quadrant, North-Central Utah and Uinta County, Wyoming, U.S. Geological Survey Map I - 1944.

-Farnsworth, R.K., Thompson, E.S., and Peck, E.L., (1982), Evaporation atlas for the contiguous 48 states: Office of Hydrology, National Weather Service, National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration Report NWS 33, 26., 4pls

-Gerbert, W.A., Graczyk, D.J., and Krug, W.R., (1987), Average annual runoff in the United States, 1951-1980: U.S. Geological Survey Hydrologic Investigation Atlas HA-710, scale 1:2,000,000

-Kryger, Nick., (1997), Watersheds Canyon Reference Map. Salt Lake City Dept. of Public Utilities, GIS Station

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