WATER QUALITY, WILDLIFE AND OPEN SPACE IN JEOPARDY
Utah Open Lands has until November 7 to raise $700,000 to protect Owl Meadow
Utah Open Lands faces a November 7, 2016 deadline to raise the money necessary to protect a 4.6 acre meadow in Emigration Canyon, dubbed Owl Meadow. The non-profit land trust is relying on community support to save the meadow as open space.
Owl Meadow includes a portion of Emigration Creek as well as significant habitat for great horned owls, Northern saw-whet owls, Cooper’s hawks, American kestrels, red tail hawks, mule deer, elk and other species.
The land is currently zoned for residential development, and has received many purchase offers. Yet the seller is providing Utah Open Lands with a small window of opportunity to raise $700,000 to purchase and protect it.
“The land is adjacent to Perkins Flat, which was protected in 2005. It’s also very close to The Anderson Family Preserve which we protected in 2003,” said Wendy Fisher, Executive Director of Utah Open Lands. “Residents, cyclists, bikers, and visitors traveling Emigration Canyon enjoy this scenic meadow. Any development will degrade its visual and ecological value. We need community support for this project quickly to meet the seller’s deadline.”
This year, great horned owls nested on the property and fledged four owlets. Last year, a nest of Cooper’s Hawks occupied the meadow and a family of saw-whet owls hunted there. Emigration Creek runs through the land, which eventually flows into the Jordan River. “It’s a small amount of acreage, but the conservation value is tremendous,” Fisher said. “Development threatens Emigration Creek’s water quality. The continued natural function of the stream and wetlands is strategic in the broader protection of water quality for Emigration Creek, the Jordan River and the Great Salt Lake.”
Utah Open Lands is placing a banner on Owl Meadow to inform passersby of the campaign and deadline. Utah Open Lands website contains details. “The deadline is so tight we are only accepting donations, not pledges,” said Fisher. “If we can’t raise the funds in time, 100% of the collected money will be returned, and at least, we will have tried.”
Owl Meadow is the first of many land preservation projects the organization hopes to announce in the coming weeks, but the deadline to raise funds places the Owl Meadow project most at risk.