When a sheet of rainwater cascades off a street or parking lot, a vital resource is lost. Even worse, the chemical-laden water erodes stream channels and fills them with pollution.

Dasch Houdeshel and Austin Orr say it doesn’t have to be that way. The University of Utah engineering students are figuring out how to use plants and retention features to remove contaminants from storm runoff and dampen its impact on natural water systems. At a research station at the mouth of Red Butte Canyon, they run water through test plots holding different native plant environments, measuring the volumes of mulched water they transpire and discharge, and the nutrients they absorb.

Read more in the Salt Lake Tribune’s article by Brian Maffly.