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Monitor Change

Monitoring ecological change with smart phones and social media

We're creating a citizen network to monitor change at our stream restoration projects! It's simple: Put up a sign asking people to set their phone or camera in an angle bracket, take a photo, and post it to Twitter with a site-specific hashtag. Then we harvest the photos to create timelapse views that show change over time. 

photo monitoring station

Active photo station projects

Jordan River Murray/Taylorsville Restoration Project
  • Beginning in 2015, this multi-phase river restoration project repaired over 3,800 lineal feet of unstable river bank from Arrowhead Park at 4800 S to approximately 5100 S on the Jordan River.
  • Photo stations were installed at five key locations along the river in fall 2017.
  • Station Hashtags:  #jordanarrowhead1, #jordanarrowhead2, #jordantoewood1, #jordantoewood2, #jordanclifftop
  • Check out the slideshows!
Jordan River Channel Repair at Winchester Park
  • In 2015, SLCo Watershed constructed a stable channel that sustains major flood flows, improves fish and bird habitat, and improves the riparian community plant diversity. At Winchester Park (6500 S) in Murray on the Jordan River.
  • Photo station installed fall 2017
  • Station Hashtag: #jordanwinchester
  • Check out the slideshow!
Jordan River Realignment at Rotary Park 12600 S
  • In December 2011 over 80 feet of eroded riverbank was rebuilt using gravel from the river. Four large rock structures (called vanes) protect against future erosion, safely convey boaters, and create valuable aquatic habitat. Across from Jordan River Rotary Park at 12600 S in Draper.
  • Photo station installed fall 2017.
  • Station Hashtag: #jordanrotarypark
  • Check out the slideshow!

Parleys Creek Dog Access Bank Stabilization in PHNP

  • We're monitoring active bank erosion at one of the most heavily used dog access points on Parleys Creek in Parleys Historic Nature Park.
  • Rustic terraces built from bundled dogwood and willow stems (called "fascines") were installed in 2021 to stabilize the soil erosion and minimize the impact of dogs.
  • This project is a partnership between Salt Lake County Watershed and Salt Lake City Trails & Natural Lands.
  • Photo station installed fall 2022.
  • Station Hashtag: #parleysPHNP
  • Check out the slideshow!

Jordan River Riparian Restoration at 4500 S

  • Restored riparian zone and rebuilt floodplain at roughly 4500S (at Murray Public Works), completed in summer 2022. Weed mitigation to prepare the riparian area for revegetation with native plants began in 2020.
  • Photo monitoring station coming soon!

How it works

By crowdsourcing the photos, we're getting trail users involved in the monitoring process. A bracket installed on top of the sign post ensures a consistent height, angle, and direction for each photo. The end result: A photographic record of how  riparian vegetation is filling in, or how reconstructed streambanks are holding up, or how new floodplains are handling high river flows.

Make your own photo stations

Want the code to create slideshows like ours? You'll just need to get in touch to request access to Salt Lake County's public facing GitHub.

Check out our inspiration at and the Nerds for Nature instructable.