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USU's Institute of Land, Water and Air presents latest research

Governor Cox speaking in front of attendees at the annual Janet Quinney Lawson Institute report of Utah's Land, Air and Water.
Erin Lewis

The report compiled by Utah State University researchers and collaborators, highlights current research on Utah’s air, land and water quality in 2022. Thursday’s event included opening remarks from USU president, Noelle Cockett, followed by a summary of the report, given by Executive Director of the Janet Quinney Lawson Institute, Brian Steed. He emphasized three major take-aways.

“Number one, Utah's experiencing different conditions. Number two, people's actions make a huge difference. And number three, research helps inform policy choices,” said Steed.

The report provides evidence through research over the course of five chapters on Utah’s land, water, air, agriculture and Great Salt Lake. Overall, it explores the current state of Utah’s environment and work that has been done to improve conditions. A major takeaway is the shift in public opinion, with land, water and air issues concerning Utahns the most.

Governor Cox expressed his gratitude for the report and said he is encouraged by public responses to these issues, particularly when it comes to water and agriculture.

“What we have now is a collective will, and that collective will matters. The best part of this is there's something each of us can do about that. And we're not helpless. Every one of us can conserve one, whether you're a farmer, whether you have a lawn,” Cox said.

Cox also spoke to the importance of the report to legislative budgeting and decision making.

“This report is foundational for the decisions that we will be making,” Cox said.

While there is a long way to go addressing these issues and more, the increase in public awareness and interest in Utah’s environmental state was encouraging to many at the event, including Steed.

“I think there's more consensus on these items. And there has been in the past, and we all have a sense of purpose, that we can conserve a little better,” said Steed.

To read the report visit Utah's Land, Water and Air 2022 report to the Governor.

Erin Lewis is a science reporter at Utah Public Radio and a PhD Candidate in the biology department at Utah State University. She is passionate about fostering curiosity and communicating science to the public. At USU she studies how anthropogenic disturbances are impacting wildlife, particularly the effects of tourism-induced dietary shifts in endangered Bahamian Rock Iguana populations. In her free time she enjoys reading, painting and getting outside with her dog, Hazel.