On December 29, 2022, President Biden signed into law the Federal Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023, which included $1 million for Summit County’s Weber River Watershed Resilience Partnership. Summit County is grateful to Congressman Blake Moore for sponsoring the $1 million appropriation as one of his Community Projects and to Senator Mitt Romney for voting for the measure.
The Weber River Watershed Resilience Partnership includes Summit County, the United States Forest Service, Utah Forestry, Fire, and State Lands, the Weber Basin Water Conservancy, private landowners, and other state agencies and nonprofits. It focuses on watershed restoration and fire mitigation treatments in the headwaters of the Weber River aimed at building landscape-scale resilience to catastrophic wildfire and protecting this critical water source to Summit County and downstream users. This funding will go towards planning and implementation of fuel reduction initiatives within the Upper Weber Watershed, such as selective timber harvest and thinning operations. These tactics, when used in conjunction with returning controlled fire to the system, will help make our forested lands healthier and wildfire adaptive, as well as reduce the negative effects of post-fire impacts on the watershed.
“Managing for resilient landscapes allows our ecosystems to withstand change and recover from that change at a pace and scale consistent with our changing climate,” Summit County Public Lands Manager Jess Kirby said. “Summit County is home to seven headwaters of major watersheds and has a great responsibility to provide water security to downstream beneficiaries. Eventually making its way to the Great Salt Lake, the Weber Basin itself provides water to 1.2 million culinary users and agricultural operations, and also supports the vital habitat that our wildlife depend on.”
The success of this project will be determined by achieving true cross-boundary private-public partnership to reduce the impacts of catastrophic wildfire on the health, safety, and livelihood of residents and visitors of the Wasatch front and back. We look forward to sharing more details once the watershed restoration treatments begin in 2023.