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Conservation Division


The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food works with farmers and ranchers through conservation planning and assistance designed to benefit the soil, water, air, plants, and animals that result in productive lands and healthy ecosystems.

The Conservation Programs within the Division work to sustain Utah’s agricultural lands and protect the state’s natural resources. A watershed-wide approach is used to solve resource issues and develop conservation projects and provide funding options from multiple state and federal programs. There are few organizations in the state that rival the work that is done in the division.

Well planned and managed livestock grazing is an important landscape-scale tool for maintaining healthy rangelands, watersheds, and wildlife habitats, and that healthy rangelands contribute to a healthy livestock industry and productive rural economies.


Utah Grazing Improvement Program (UGIP) GIP, which is broad-based and focuses on rangeland resource health. Its mission is to “improve the productivity and sustainability of our rangelands and watersheds.”

Harmful algal blooms (HAB) are the result of a rapid increase or accumulation of cyanobacteria in a water body.

Click here to learn more.

Mark Quilter, Ground Water Specialist
(801) 982-2231

The Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Program was established during the enactment of the Clean Water Act. The seven Colorado River Basin states joined with federal agencies to prevent damages to lower basin states (Arizona, California, and Nevada) at the same time allow upper basin states to develop their compacted waters. A program that focused on improving irrigation efficiency was put in place and funded through Bureau of Reclamation, United States Department of Agriculture and the Basin States.

In Utah the program operates as a partnership with BOR, USDA, EPA, USGS, US F&WS, and BLM as federal agencies and UDAF, DEQ, DNR, local conservation districts, local conservancy districts, and local irrigation entities. These partners discuss, plan and implement projects which reduce the movement and flow of salts into the Colorado River and its tributaries. The projects also benefit local Utah residents with improved irrigation infrastructure, longer irrigation season, more efficient water use, and increased economies in project areas. Representatives from the state agency and local partners are members of the CRBSCP Forum, Advisory Council, and Workgroup which oversee and guide the salinity control program among the seven basin states.

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Mark Quilter, Ground Water Specialist
(801) 982-2231

NOTE: The State Ground Water Program is no longer accepting applications for water testing, as the program has been suspended.

The State Ground Water Program, administered by the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF), was implemented in 1996 to assist private well owners in determining the quality of their drinking, irrigation, and livestock water. The program receives assistance from local conservation districts in the selection of wells to sample.

Ground Water Reports:












February 1999 Program Update





UDAF’s Water Optimization Program was created during the 2018 General Session (HB 381) to reduce agricultural water diversion or consumptive use while maintaining or improving agriculture production and profitability.

The 2021 Legislative secession added an additional $3,000,000 in funding to the program. All projects must include real-time metering and document water saved. 2021 applications will be open May 5 – June 2, 2021.

Click here to learn more and how to apply.

For more information contact Jay Olsen:, 801-718-0517.