Escalante River, Utah

Escalante River - B Blundell

Conservation youth corps working on the Escalante River, Utah. Photo by Barbara Balaguer

Overview

The Escalante River is a magnificent waterway in southern Utah that flows 70+ miles through what some people consider the flagship, or one of the most premier areas, within the National Conservation Lands: Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Designated by President Bill Clinton in 2000, it was the first area included in the National Conservation Lands—our country’s newest collection of permanently protected lands that rivals our National Parks or National Wildlife Refuges.

The river can be considered this Monument’s major artery, supplying water in an arid region for people, agriculture, recreation, resident wildlife, migrating birds, unusual aquatic species, and at its end, the Colorado River and Lake Powell. Demand for water from this river is high and, like so many rivers in the West, the introduction and spread of two non-native species, Russian olive and tamarisk, have harmed the river ecosystem.

Opportunities for Better Protecting the Escalante River

  • Recognizing that there are changes and challenges unfolding in the region, people from about 25 private and public agencies, groups, organizations and community representatives formed the Escalante River Watershed Partnership in 2009. The group aims to restore and maintain the natural ecological conditions of the river and involve local communities in promoting and implementing sustainable land and water use practices.
  • There is a great need for more communications and outreach about this successful restoration project. Grand Staircase Escalante Partners is working to address this by improving and adding information to their website about the project, the youth crews doing the work, and the benefits to local communities.

Who’s doing what, where, on the Escalante?

Maps, Video and Stories

Here is a short but sweet video showing the restoration work on Escalante River and scenes from the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument.

News articles

The Salt Lake Tribune reports on the formation and early success of the Escalante River Watershed Partnership