UPR Source Episodes

Jennifer Pemberton

The Colorado River flows for over 1400 miles through four U.S. states, though it drains seven. It’s sometimes called the American Nile because nearly every drop of it is used by the civilization of the American West. Over 90% of the river is diverted and consumed by nearly 40 million people -- not all of whom live in its watershed. It’s a lifeline in a desert -- something to fight over. But when it gets squeezed through the tight canyons it has carved for itself it creates dramatic places for adventure. And it sure is pretty.

Today on The Source, three stories of the Colorado River. One about a wooden boat named for a place on the Colorado River that wouldn’t be there if it weren’t for a conservation great named Martin Litton. Also, two guys named Eric talk about Lake Powell. And finally the story of two bodies of water that kissed for the first time in a long time.

Jennifer Pemberton

A couple years ago I was home for Thanksgiving. Among the litany of things my family said they were thankful for were electricity and clean water. That’s because this particular wing of my family is employed by various utility companies. Then we started talking about who had Friday off and it turned out everyone did except the guy who worked at the wastewater treatment plant. “It’s a big day at the plant,” he said, which took everyone a little while to process. That’s when we started to call the day after Thanksgiving “Brown Friday.”


FuturistNaturalist.com

They’re smuggled in dark containers and shipped across oceans. They’re transported in pods, carried on the backs of furry animals. They’re microscopic and they travel on the wind. They’re beautiful and they’re brought in intentionally. They’re dangerous and they reproduce rapidly. They’re also delicious.

Today on The Source, we’re talking about invasive species -- familiar plants and animals that are not native to Utah. We’ll learn which invasive fish the state wants you to eat, how to prevent your aquatic vessel from inadvertently transmitting disease, and get tips from a true Weed Warrior on how to combat invasive plants. But first, Ross Chambless learns a valuable lesson about the scourge of northern Utah’s wetlands -- phragmites -- and why you should never feed it after midnight.


USU Digital Exhibits, accessed September 25, 2015, http://exhibits.usu.edu/items/show/8755

A lot of people who move to Logan, Utah, from out of state have this moment when they think a water main must have ruptured because there’s a lot of water gushing down the street. Nope. That’s just ditch water and many people have to figure out how to get water from the that ditch to their lawn or vegetable garden and there are no instructions for this.

This episode of The Source is all about irrigation -- the kind that farmers do and the kind that residents of Logan have to do with a system that was designed by the very first settlers to the valley. We’ll talk about what’s changed, what hasn’t and what needs to when it comes to watering your lawn or tomatoes.


J. Urquhart, Mars Society

Utah has some unique water problems but they’re not that unique. Studying water in Utah can tell us a lot about similar places that also rely on high mountain snowpack for their yearly allotment. But a lot of the research involving water in Utah has implications way beyond that.

In this hour, four stories about local research with global legs. From feeding people in the Nile Delta to informing policy in Pakistan. From negotiating the shifting watery border between the U.S. and Mexico to...camping on Mars, we’re going far out on The Source.

National Drought Mitigation Center

We’ve seen the image of a half empty Lake Powell and the now iconic bathtub ring around its rim. We’ve heard the stories coming out of California about wells running dry. We’ve learned a new term: sprinkler shaming. We know enough to know we’re in a drought, but what does that mean? What is drought? What should we do about it and why should we even care?

On The Source today, what we talk about when we talk about drought.


Ryan Cunningham

For something so elemental, natural, essential and seemingly basic, there’s as much complexity to water as you’re willing to chase. From hydrology and fluid dynamics to understanding aquatic habitats to learning to swim or xeriscape your yard, there’s a lot to learn about water.

This week on The Source we’re talking about education and water. From swiftwater rescue classes to a day at the aquarium, we’ll meet unique teachers and students who specialize in aspects of water you might not have ever thought about.

Black Canyon of the Bear Whitewater Festival; http://www.blackcanyonwhitewaterfest.org/

According to the Outdoor Industry Association, recreation generates over 120,000 jobs in Utah. It brings in $12 billion in consumer spending each year and nearly $1 billion additional in related taxes. 82% of Utahns participate in the outdoor recreation economy each year and that doesn’t include hunting or fishing.

In this program, we look at how to value recreation in the hierarchy of water uses. Whether it’s skiing, boating or fishing, a lot of us recreate on the water, but do those activities trump uses like irrigation, power generation, or drinking water? We’ll look at three specific cases where recreation comes into conflict with other uses of water and some of the ways groups have resolved those conflicts.

It’s contentious. It’s litigious. It’s fun! It’s recreation and water on The Source.


Jennifer Pemberton

When water is left alone, it makes a mess. It backs up into wetlands. Rivers overflow their banks. Mud and silt builds up, new channels open up. But Elijah Portugal, who studies how rivers and streams shape the land, says that that mess is what rivers need to be functional. “Messiness matters,” he says.

In this program, we’ll meet some of the people who have been responsible for cleaning up rivers: the state and federal agencies responsible for controlling water -- for making sure it doesn’t slow down or back up, that it gets to where we need it as efficiently as possible. We’ll also meet people who appreciate the messiness of streams in their natural states -- it’s that messiness that creates great habitat for fish and birds and a host of other ecosystem benefits. And we’ll meet the creatures that mess up watersheds in the best possible way. The hour is all about Beavers and Dams.


Jennifer Pemberton

It’s the fourth largest lake of its kind in the world, but the Great Salt Lake is often underappreciated in Utah. With the lake level within a foot or two of its record low, now is a good time to get to know the Great Salt Lake.

Over 7 million migratory birds stop at the lake each year, stocking up for their epic journeys across continents. Between the people who come to appreciate the birds and a handful of specialized industries, the lake brings in over a billion dollars for the state each year.

In this episode of The Source, we’ll hear from researchers and resource managers as well as residents and visitors to the Great Salt Lake. We’ll learn how close we are to actually losing the lake forever and some of the threats that are challenging it well beyond its usual ups and downs.


Jennifer Pemberton

Inside every tree there’s enough information to keep researchers around the West busy for their entire careers. This week on the program, a look at dendroclimatology -- using tree rings to re-construct what the climate was like in Utah hundreds of years ago. Because looking at the state’s climate past is the best way to understand the future.

Jennifer Pemberton talks to plant and climate scientists about how they interpret the thousands of tiny rings that make up a tree’s life history into a full picture of the cycles of wet and dry Utah has seen over the past thousand years.