Resources: Water-Wise and Native Plants

intermountain west map

Native Plants for the Intermountain West

About WERA

WERA-1013 is an officially recognized Western Education/Extension and Research Activity designed to enhance the introduction and evaluation of native plants and to provide education concerning their use and propagation.

The people involved make up a working group of western US university and nursery professionals who wish to advance the use of native plants in landscaping and gardening.

This website was formerly hosted by University of Wyoming Extension.


Principles of Water-Wise Landscaping

In addition to selecting low-water plants, there are seven basic landscaping principles that can help you conserve water in the landscape. A water-wise landscape is one that is functional, attractive, and easily maintained in its natural surroundings. These principles will help you to have a beautiful landscape while still conserving water.

CWEL faculty, staff, and graduate students conduct research addressing water requirements of trees and turfgrass, effects of short-term drought on landscapes, development and use of drought tolerant grasses and landscape plants, and characterization of community-wide landscape water demand and use patterns.

Out-reach education programs are geared to providing expertise and information to state-wide Extension offices, the green industry, water purveyors/institutions, and the general public. CWEL reaches these goals through collaboration with federal, state, and local agencies as well as Utah's green industry.

Ongoing research projects include:

  • Sego Supreme™ native plant introduction program at Utah State University's Botanical Center in Kaysville
  • Salt tolerance in native and adapted plants
  • Increasing pinyon pine nut production
  • Propagation of woody plants such as Mountain mahogany and Bigtooth maple
  • WaterMAPs™ water management and planning software
  • Water conserving turfgrass cultivar development
  • Turfgrass irrigation efficiency and irrigation systems research