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The City Journals

Employees branch out for Jordan River restoration project

Oct 31, 2016 12:13PM ● By Travis Barton

About 40 volunteers from Salt Lake City company, Stantec, helped plant 375 plants, shrubs and trees along the Jordan River Parkway on Sept. 21. (Stantec)

By Travis Barton | [email protected]

Murray, Utah - In late September, employees from Stantec got down and dirty along the Jordan River Parkway in Murray, helping to plant 375 plants, shrubs and trees along a quarter-mile stretch of riverbank. It’s the second year the employees have done this volunteer work. 

Julie Howe is an environmental scientist for Stantec, an engineering and design firm. Howe said the project for the parkway will help stabilize stream banks. 

“[The project] will help get rid of invasive species, it prevents erosion and it also looks a lot nicer,” Howe said. 

Stantec and Salt Lake County have worked together previously on restoration projects as part of the county’s watershed plan. 

Funding for the project was partially provided through a Stantec grant of $1,000 to help purchase the necessary plants for the parkway. Cottonwoods, willows, dogwoods and alder were among the trees planted while plants like wild roses are placed in specific areas according to their needs, all of which were native to the area. 

“It’s all planned out to help ensure the growth or survival of the plants,” Howe said. 

Being declared by the state as “an impaired waterbody,” the Jordan River Parkway is part of the county’s ecosystem restoration project. 

Howe said the county will do the restorative work with time and funds, but with Stantec’s assistance, the project can increase efficiency. 

“It not only helps get this project done but it allows the county to do more projects themselves,” Howe said. 

The volunteer activity was part of a Stantec service day with more than 8,000 employees volunteering time in their communities around the world. The company has more than 400 locations across six continents. 

“This kind of community involvement is great for the company…I like the fact that Stantec wants to get involved in their community and make a difference,” Howe said. 

While it was a global initiative, Howe said it was great for employees—from the Salt Lake and Sandy offices—to work on a local project. About 40 employees participated in the Sept. 21 planting. 

“We all drive over the Jordan River all the time so it’s more visual for us,” Howe said. “I really enjoy it because we get out there and work hard and we can see the results both after we finish and the following year to see how the plants have survived.” 

The county’s watershed plan encompasses the Jordan River and its connecting tributaries. In her work, Howe deals with storm water quality so projects with the Jordan River are right in her wheelhouse.

“It’s sort of a broader project that helps restore our community,” Howe said. 

Jordan River Parkway can expect Stantec employees to return for next year’s planting with much interest and enthusiasm. 

“We’ve already taken a vote and everybody wants to do it again…I like just everybody getting out there and getting their hands dirty,” Howe said.