Progress: Environmental Dashboard
Executive Committee votes to fund Environmental Dashboard
Mountain Accord’s Executive Committee unanimously voted to release the initial funding to create an environmental monitoring program. This “Environmental Dashboard” will serve to provide stake holders with key data on changing environmental conditions within the Central Wasatch Range.
The Environmental Dashboard is an essential part of the environmental philosophy that informed the Accord, signed in Summer of 2015. Mountain Accord represents the culmination of two years’ worth of public feedback, stakeholder involvement and leadership decisions. The consensus-based process brought many groups to the table from government agencies, environmental and recreational advocacy groups and ski resort and private landholders.
“As the environmental systems group met we all found issues that we wanted to better understand,” Executive Board Member Joan Degiorgio said. “We didn’t have a single set of measurements to give us data on a condition so we could address it. And we realized we need to create a tool to help us going forward.”
The signed Accord directed the creation of the Environmental Dashboard to give decision makers a way to track the Central Wasatch’s environmental heath and evaluate impacts in future planning discussions.
The committee voted to seek proposals for groups who develop a monitoring system that will incorporate 21 representational “nodes” that can be evaluated on a red, yellow and green basis. These nodes, to be determined by a team of scientific experts would range from the health and vibrancy of a specific species of bird, for example, or a certain set of water quality measurements. Likely targets for the Dashboard will be watershed health, water supply, air quality, riparian and wetland systems, and wildlife corridors. This type of information will be gathered to create an easily snapshot of the overall environmental health of the Central Wasatch Range. Other states like Colorado and Delaware employ similar planning tools.
“This was the one thing everyone involved in Mountain Accord could agree upon,” Degiorgio said. “We’re excited to see it move forward.”
The vote clears the way for a bidding process that committee members hope will be concluded by mid-November with the work cf creating the Dashboard beginning in the new year.