In fall 2020, our intern Riley Nevins took on a first for HEAL Utah: GIS mapping.
This project began when we wanted to create an interactive tool with accessible information related to pollution, hazardous waste, and other environmental threats throughout Utah. We realized that mapping would be the most effective way to visualize data, and Riley took the lead. The creation of these maps is to help our staff, our supporters, and decision makers get a better idea of the breadth that these threats pose to people, communities, and our natural environment.
Uranium Industry in San Juan County, Utah
HEAL Utah has been fighting against radioactive and nuclear waste for over 20 years and the fight is not yet won. The uranium industry in Utah is longstanding and has a painful history throughout the state, as its negative impacts remain long after parts of the industry close. Uranium issues remain significant today and the active, and inactive, industry continues to threaten the health of surrounding communities and the natural world.
To get a picture of the uranium’s ongoing impact in the state, we – thanks to our intern Riley Nevins – compiled data into an interactive map that allows the user to visualize hazardous sites, uranium mines, uranium mills, and population centers in San Juan County, Utah.
While we are careful to not yet draw specific conclusions from the map in its current state, we see this map as an important way to visualize the widespread impact that the uranium industry has in Utah – even when only focusing on one county! We believe it is important to also note the amount of overlap and close proximity the uranium and hazardous sites have with the Ute Mountain Ute Reservation and Navajo Nation, both of which have communities that have repeatedly suffered from the serious impacts caused by this industry.
Explore this map below or here.
About Riley Nevins, HEAL Utah GIS Intern
Riley is a recent University of Utah graduate, where he received his Bachelor’s in Geography with an emphasis on Global Climates and Earth Landscapes. He also focused on, and has completed his certification in, applied Geographic Information Systems (GIS). It’s with this focus that he has come to be HEAL Utah’s fall intern.
When Riley isn’t working, he is hiking and recreating in the outdoors, especially in the Wasatch and throughout southern Utah.
Riley is excited to join HEAL Utah this semester. Growing up in Utah, studying, and recreating, he values the communities and landscape that collectively create the space he calls home. He hopes to work towards creating a healthier and more environmentally friendly future for Utah.