Jordan River (Utah)

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Jordan River (Utah)

Post  taixyz1992 on Mon Nov 22, 2010 1:07 pm

The Jordan River is a stream, about 51 miles (82 km) long, in the U.S. state of Utah. Regulated by pumps at its headwaters at Utah Lake, it flows northward through the Salt Lake Valley and empties into the Great Salt Lake. Four of Utah's five largest cities—Salt Lake City, West Valley City, West Jordan and Sandy—border the river. More than a million people live in the Jordan Subbasin, which is the part of the Jordan River watershed that lies within Salt Lake and Davis counties. During the Pleistocene, the area was part of Lake Bonneville.

Members of the Desert Archaic Culture were the earliest known inhabitants of the region; an archaeological site found along the river dates back 3,000 years. Mormon pioneers led by Brigham Young were the first European-American settlers, arriving in July 1847 and establishing farms and settlements along the river and its tributaries. The growing population, needing water for drinking, irrigation, and industrial use in an arid climate, dug ditches and canals, built dams, and installed pumps to create a highly regulated river.

Although the Jordan was originally a cold-water fishery with 13 native species including Bonneville cutthroat trout, it has become a warm-water fishery where common carp is most abundant. Heavily polluted for many years by raw sewage, agricultural runoff, and mining wastes, the river became cleaner in the 1960s when modern sewage treatment removed many pollutants. In the 21st century, pollution is further limited by the Clean Water Act, and, in some cases, the Superfund program. Once the home of bighorn sheep and beaver, the contemporary river is frequented by raccoons, red foxes, and domestic pets. Along with the Great Salt Lake and Utah Lake, it is still an important avian resource visited by more than 200 bird species.

Big Cottonwood, Little Cottonwood, Red Butte, Mill, Parley's, and City creeks, as well as smaller streams flow through the subbasin. The Jordan River Parkway along the river includes natural areas, botanical gardens, golf courses and a proposed 40-mile (64 km) bicycle and pedestrian trail, much of which has been completed.

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