Baseline Physical Habitat Conditions of Wetlands in Snake Valley, Utah (2009-2011): In 2009 3PPI was contracted by the Utah Department of Natural Resources to develop a comprehensive baseline evaluation of the wetland resources within Snake Valley, Utah. The project is comprised of approximately 20,000 acres in two distinct study areas. The northern study area of approximately 13,000 acres is defined by the Bishop Springs Complex on the southern end, north to the Miller Spring Complex. The southern study area of approximately 7,000 acres is defined by the Big Springs Complex on the southern end, north to Pruess Lake. The spring-fed wetland habitats within the study areas have been identified as Critical Sensitive Species Habitat by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the State of Utah for the presence of several state and federal sensitive species including the Columbia Spotted Frog (Conservation Agreement Specie), Relict Leopard Frog (Federal Candidate Specie), and Least Chub (Conservation Agreement Specie).
Justin Miner, Intermountain Operations Manager for 3PPI, was the project manager and lead wetland scientist for this project. The study involved mapping of the wetland and phreatophytic upland fringe habitats to the Alliance and Association Levels of the International Vegetation Classification System, and the development of a network of shallow groundwater piezometers to characterize the hydrology supporting different wetland habitat types. The mapping and classification was automated using a combination of software including: ERDAS Imagine 9.3, ERDAS Objective, SPRING 5.0.4, and ESRI ArcGIS 9.3. The mapping was field validated and a standardized accuracy assessment was performed. The wetland hydrology was characterized by analyzing data collected from a network of shallow groundwater piezometers. The shallow piezometer network consists of 60 locations, designed and installed to capture shallow water table measurements in representative wetland and phreatophytic upland fringe vegetation communities. The known water table levels from these fixed points were analyzed individually, grouped by vegetation community type, and also grouped spatially by their spring complex. The final product consisted of a comprehensive inventory of the amount and type of wetland and fringe phreatophytic upland habitats occurring within the study areas and the representative hydrology supporting each habitat type.
To download the full reports visit the Utah Department of Natural Resources website at: http://geology.utah.gov/esp/ground_water/pubs/wetlands.htm.