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Water: 5 Star Wetland Restoration & Grants

Decker Lake Wetlands Project


Five-Star Restoration Program Descriptions

Decker Lake Wetlands Project
Youth Force, The Salt Lake County Service and Conservation Corps
Salt Lake County, Utah
EPA Region 8

Youth Force, Salt Lake County's youth corps, used Five Star Restoration Partners Initiative support to deploy a crew that accomplished significant invasive species control projects with the Decker Lake Wetlands Preserve Foundation during Summer, 1998. In this multi-partner effort, other support for the youth corps crew came from the Salt Lake County Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) program. EPA Region 8 provided separate support for a local naturalist who provided educational presentations for members of the crew and the community. In addition, a US Fish and Wildlife Service staff member provided technical assistance at the site. Salt Lake County Department of Parks and Recreation is in the process of developing a regional park at Decker Lake.

Decker Lake is located near a commercial area and low-income, multi-ethnic neighborhood alongside Interstate 215 on the western side of the Salt Lake Valley. The lake can be understood as a compromised ecosystem in which the lake surface has dwindled to 30 acres from the original 150 due to filling. The lake provides a unique wetland area in a desert environment, and has recently received attention thanks to grassroots community effort to preserve it as natural habitat at a time when all available land in the Salt Lake Valley is being developed for houses and commercial buildings at a frantic pace.

Specifically, the crew pruned tamarisk trees from an area 15 feet wide by 500 feet long along the northwestern bank of Decker Lake. The crew also dug out and removed phragmites grass and other weeds throughout the targeted area.

Three side benefits resulted from the project:

  1. Removing exotics made the land shape more visible to plan for future molding of the bank.

  2. Numerous visiting groups viewed the work project area during the summer and received instruction on exotic species' impact on habitat.

  3. The presence of the Youth Force crew helped attract volunteer labor to the site, including community volunteers and Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops, on Take Pride in Utah Day and several weekends.

EPA Grant Amount: $4,000
Matching Funds: $15,360
Contact: Youth Force: Salt Lake County Service & Conservation Corps
Richard Parks, Director and Brenda Bell
2001 South State N4200
Salt Lake City, UT 84190
Ph: 801/468-3604, Fx: 801/468-3684

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