Provo is home to abundant natural resources that contribute to residents’ quality of life. Sustaining that quality has been a project of city staff and residents for nearly a decade.
On Tuesday, the municipal council was given a brief insight to that sustainability program and to the 2019 Provo Sustainability Report.
As part of the report’s cover page says, the city recognizes its role in preserving and protecting such resources like clean air, energy sources, agricultural areas and undeveloped natural areas such as the Provo River, Utah Lake, Rock Canyon and numerous others.
Shawn Miller with the agricultural committee spoke briefly to the council about what the committee’s main focus was last year.
“The main work focused on easements on the northwest side of town on the Moreno-Christensen property northeast of the Utah State Park,” Miller said.
The nature conservancy sites need money to care for and protect the beaches between the Powell Slough and Cherry Hill area. The state provided $300,000 without a problem, Miller said.
“We need about a half a million more,” Miller added.
He also spoke of the great sacrifice the Despain family made in selling their property near the Provo Delta wetland preserve to the federal government.
Members of the council felt Dale Despain needed to have a new park or even the delta named after him for his sacrifice.
The report notes that the preservation of these resources is becoming even more critical as the population of Provo grows.
“The City recognizes the importance of sustainability — the ability to meet the needs of the current generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs,” the committee report says.
“Provo City does not promote sustainability only to look good — we do it because it makes sense, both financially and morally,” said Austin Taylor, Provo sustainability coordinator. “The more energy, water, and land we conserve, the more money we save our taxpayers. The more natural resources we save, the better life will be for our children.”
Taylor added, “It’s our duty as public servants to do what’s right for our city and set an example. Sustainable living is a moral duty.”
Taylor told the council the committee is encouraging personnel to use less and do more by adopting sustainable practices.
Those practices include using alternative transportation, riding bikes and walking more, along with better recycling.
According to Don Jarvis, head of the citizen’s sustainability committee, 40% of the recycling being put in resident’s recycling containers is not clean, which is costly problem residents need to work on.
“We need to do a better job,” Jarvis said. “We even found a deer carcass in the recycling.”
“Provo City has been a leader in both practicing and promoting sustainable behaviors,” said Mayor Michelle Kaufusi in an email. “Not only has our employee sustainability committee raised awareness, they’ve successfully made improvements that elevate our community as a whole.”
The sustainability report indicates there are thousands of ways to live more sustainably, from large things like upgrading homes to be more efficient to small things like choosing to walk or bike instead of drive.
The sustainability committee consists of a representative from each department. This committee combines traditional city functions with emerging best practices to ensure coordinated, conscious results, according to the report.
“We strive for outcomes that promote environmental stewardship. We believe that sustainability is a social responsibility. Provo City believes it is our obligation to encourage sustainability amongst our employees,” Kaufusi said.
Visit https://provo.org/sustainability for the full 2019 sustainability report.