Emigration Creek Project


 Fall leaves in Emigration Creek

A student testing water of Emigration Creek

This web page class project, dealing with the Aquatic Ecosystem of Lower Emigration Creek in Salt Lake City, Utah, was created by students enrolled in General Ecology at Westminster College during Fall Semester 2000.  The project was under the supervision of Dr. A. T. Harrison, Biology Department.

The web page was posted December, 2000.

For additional information on this page and about other similar projects please consult Dr. Harrison's person home page at: http://people.westminstercollege.edu/faculty/tharrison/index.html.  E-mail Address: tharrison@westminstercollege.edu;  Mailing address: 1840 S. 1300E. Salt Lake City, Utah 84105.  Telephone: 801-488-4232 (Office)

The information on this project page expands similar class projects dealing with urban riparian areas in Salt Lake City. These can be consulted by clicking on the following project titles:

1. Hidden Hollow: a Virtual Field Trip on Parley's Creek

2. A Virtual Tour of the Emigration Creek Riparian Area as it crosses Westminster College's campus :

3. An Ecological Inventory of Westminster's Emigration Creek Aquatic System by Jaime Van Norman (fall 1999)


The students involved in the Emigration Creek Project 2000 are listed below with the projects which they created for this page. Click on any of the organisms or factors to go directly to the information. :


Introduction Ty Harrison
Watershed Ryan Gillespie
Stormdrains Christing Albano
Physical Nathan Owens
Chemical Kevin Whipple
Trees Dianne Boogert
Planaria Bridgette Jenne
Cladophora Karen Lynne
Diatoms Ryan Wolt
Segmented Worms Sara Vogan
Mayflies and Caddisflies Shanna Hiniker
Trout Jenisa Oberbeck
Snails Tessa Roden
Leechs Maria Reyes
Bacteria and Fungi Melissa Dolan
Other Invertebrates Raeshell Wong

The following topographic map can be used to locate Emigration Creek as it crosses Westminster College campus from an east to west direction. The creek enters a storm culvert several hundred yards west of the campus. For a larger scale orientation map consult the "Watershed" project given above.

The model presented below is an food web diagram which shows various interrelationships between the major aquatic organisms that have been discovered living in Emigration Creek. Major physical factors such as riparian tree cover, seasonal temperatures, precipitation events and flood flows, watershed and geologic bedrock characteristics, and water quality issues all affect the organisms abundance and interactions. This page is mainly a descriptive inventory of the aquatic organisms present in a heavily impacted, urban natural area. Significant urban development is currently underway on the Emigration Creek Watershed in the Wasatch Mountains and water quality and quantity varies significantly due to pulsed runoff events from streets and yards.


1.  Click on the image name or shape to trace where the energy or nutrients go to when the organism is eaten.

2.  As shown by the large, yellow arrows, the major source of energy in this aquatic food web comes from the leaves of the surrounding trees that fall into the stream in the fall, or the wood or twigs that fall throughout the year.

3.  The rectangles with green letters represent the organisms that store carbohydrate energy from photosynthesis and minerals absorbed from the flowing water.  The circles with yellow letters are animals which feed on only the algae or diatoms (herbivores or grazers) or dead leaves and wood (detritivores).  The triangles with red letters are the animals which feed on other animals (carnivores or secondary consumers).  The purple lettersshow the bacteria and fungi which are the decomposers of the ecosystem.