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Future WRMA's Land Use Dataset

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Created: Jul 22, 2016 at 10:41 p.m.
Last updated: Jan 05, 2017 at 1:50 a.m.
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This dataset contains the urban growth simulation results of future land use in 2040 of the Wasatch Range Metropolitan Area (WRMA) .In this study, we defined the WRMA as a broad, ten-county region that surrounds the Wasatch Mountain Range east of the Great Salt Lake and Salt Lake City in Utah. This region encompasses four Wasatch Front counties west of the mountain range (Weber County, Davis County, Salt Lake County, and Utah County), three Wasatch Back counties east of the mountain range (Morgan County, Summit County, and Wasatch County), and three counties neighboring the Wasatch Front (Cache County, Box Elder County, and Tooele County).

SLEUTH-3r urban growth simulation model is used to generate this dataset. Detailed SLEUTH model protocol can be found at: The data used to run the SLEUTH-3r model include National Land Cover Database 2001, 2006, and 2011, US Census TIGER/Line shapefile for 2000 and 2011, United States Geological Survey 7.5 min elevation model, and Utah Landownership map from Utah Automated Geographic Reference Center.

Three alternative scenarios were developed to explore how conserving Utah’s agriculturale land and maintaining healthy watersheds would affect the patterns and trajectories of urban development:
1) The first scenario is a “Business as Usual” scenario. In this scenario, federal, state, and local parks, conservation easement areas, and surface water bodies, were completely excluded (value = 100) from development, and all the remaining lands are were naively assumed as developable (value = 0). This is the same excluded layer that was also used during model calibration. Under this scenario, we hypothesized that future urban grow will occur following the historical growth behaviors and trajectories and no changes in land designation or policies to restrict future growth will be implemented.
2) The second scenario is an “Agricultural Conservation” scenario. Within the developable areas that we identified earlier, we then identified places that are classified by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as prime farmland, unique farmland, farmland of statewide importance, farmland of local importance, prime farmland if irrigated, and prime farmland if irrigated and drained. Each of these classes were assigned with an exclusion value from urban development of 100, 80, 70, 60, 50, and 40 respectively. These exclusion values reflect the relative importance of each farmland classification and preservation priorities. By doing so, the model discourages but does not totally eliminate growth from occurring on agricultural lands, which reflects a general policy position to conserve agricultural landscapes while respecting landowners’ rights to sell private property.
3) A “Healthy Watershed” scenario aims to direct urban growth away from areas prone to flooding and areas critical for maintaining healthy watersheds. First, we made a 200-meter buffer around existing surface water bodies and wetlands and assigned these areas an exclusion value of 100 to keep growth from occurring there. In addition, we assigned areas that have frequent, occasional, rare and no-recorded flooding events with exclusion values of 100, 70, 40 and 0 accordingly. We also incorporated the critical watershed restoration areas identified by the Watershed Restoration Initiative of Utah Division of Wildlife Resources ( into this scenario. These watershed restoration areas are priority places for improving water quality and yield, reducing catastrophic wildfires, restoring the structure and function of watersheds following wildfire, and increasing habitat for wildlife populations and forage for sustainable agriculture. However, there are not yet legal provisions for protecting them from urbanization, so we assigned these areas a value of 70 to explore the potential urban expansion outcomes if growth were encouraged elsewhere.

Future land use projections of 2040 are in GIF format, which can be reprojected and georeferenced in ArcGIS or QGIS, or be read directly as a picture.

Subject Keywords



Coordinate System/Geographic Projection:
WGS 84 EPSG:4326
Coordinate Units:
Decimal degrees
Place/Area Name:
WRMA-Wasatch Range Metropolitan Area
North Latitude
East Longitude
South Latitude
West Longitude


Start Date:
End Date:


Additional Metadata

Name Value
Variable Description land use
Data Collection Method Data used for SLEUTH urban growth model include: NLCD of year 1992, 2001, 2006, and 2011, slope, hillshade, landownership, water, and conservation easement areas, and roads. Besides NLCD, all these data are available through:
Data Processing Method The model employed in the study is SLEUTH. Detailed information about the implementation of SLEUTH can be found at:


Funding Agencies

This resource was created using funding from the following sources:
Agency Name Award Title Award Number
National Science Foundation iUTAH-innovative Urban Transitions and Aridregion Hydro-sustainability 1208732


People or Organizations that contributed technically, materially, financially, or provided general support for the creation of the resource's content but are not considered authors.

Name Organization Address Phone Author Identifiers
Joanna Endter-Wada Dept. of Environmental & Society, Utah State University
Shujuan Li Utah State University

How to Cite

Li, E. (2017). Future WRMA's Land Use Dataset, HydroShare,

This resource is shared under the Creative Commons Attribution CC BY.


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