At a Glance

Integrating ecosystem principles into site design transforms a Superfund site into an environmentally friendly corporate campus that helps heal the site, integrates wildlife habitat into the broader landscape and region, and provides ecosystem services to the community.

Project Description

In creating its new corporate headquarters, envisioned as a LEED Platinum-certified campus, Zion Bank reclaimed portions of a once-contaminated steel mill tailings pile. The 220-acre capped plateau along the Jordan River, known as Jordan Bluffs, included seven acres of open space. The integrated design team, led by WRNS Studio, sought to enhance habitat at the site, create opportunities for surface water while protecting water quality, link the property with wildlife mitigation routes and the 40-mile Jordan River Parkway trail.

Biohabitats was instrumental in supporting the project's pursuit of LEED certification and in identifying undiscovered opportunities to integrate ecological function into the design. Biohabitats began by defining the ecoregional and watershed context of the project and conducting a site inventory and assessment. This included characterizing soils and identifying reference ecosystems to model what was possible. Biohabitats then developed goals and strategies for conserving and restoring ecological assets, connecting the property with nearby open spaces, and integrating green infrastructure. Biohabitats also prepared an Adaptive Management and Wetland Mitigation plans. With ecology integrated into site design, the property is poised to enhance habitat within a novel ecosystem while also improving water quality, soil formation and carbon storage, and pollinator support.

During the ecological assessment, Biohabitats discovered populations of a biological soil crust (Syntrichia moss) on the site. Particularly important in arid ecosystems for stabilizing soil and aiding in water filtration and soil fertility, slow-growing biological soil crusts are highly susceptible to trampling. Once alerted to the presence of the crust, the project team halted early construction operations and, under Biohabitats' supervision, salvaged the crust for later redistribution on the landscape.



Southern Rocky Mountain

Expertise Areas

Community, Conservation, Ecological Restoration, Urban Ecology, Water


Zions Bancorporation


Midvale, Utah, United States

Project Team
  • WRNS
  • ArcSitio
  • Oakland Construction
  • Intermountain Plantings