Research Catalyst Grantee



Jacqualine Grant

Jacqualine Grant

Southern Utah University


Project Title

Green infrastructure for water quality and pollinator community improvement



Water, native plants, and pollinators are inextricably linked to human health and agriculture. However, as the human population becomes more urbanized, agricultural land is lost or degraded, which strains the national food production network and fragments pollinator habitat. One solution to this combined problem is the integration of green infrastructure in urban environments. A specific type of green infrastructure, the green roof, was developed to insulate buildings and promote stormwater conservation by creating a space for plants to grow on roofs. Green roofs have been so successful that some countries now mandate green roofs on all new construction. Because green roofs were designed by engineers, the focus has been on the development of the most efficient and inexpensive plant mixes that will withstand the harsh conditions present on rooftop environments. This plant mix depends on sedums, which are usually not native to North America. Our preliminary analysis of ~5,000 invertebrates shows that there is no difference in invertebrate biodiversity on sedum roofs compared to plain asphalt roofs. Our finding points to an opportunity to engineer solutions in urban systems that may lead to extreme advances in water conservation ​and​ pollinator community conservation.


This proposed research would build upon our water conservation and green infrastructure work by engineering designs to facilitate native and non-native pollinator communities in urban environments. Novel additions to the project would include geospatial analyses of green infrastructure in urban environment, modeling of pollinator response to green infrastructure enhancement, and water-related analyses to answer questions related to water conservation in the Intermountain West. The combination of water and pollinator conservation is a fundable area because the National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators (2015) is a federal directive driving grant opportunities through many federal funding agencies.



Steve Burian, University of Utah
Clare Aslan, Northern Arizona University