Workers with Foxtail Turf from a Las Vegas yard on Sept. 29, 2022. (Trent Nelson, Salt Lake Tribune)

SALT LAKE CITY — A state lawmaker is proposing to increase the amount of money to get people to tear out turf they don't really use.

Rep. Doug Owens, D-Millcreek, told FOX 13 News he will file a bill to increase incentives for "turf buyback" programs in Utah. With a $12 million appropriation, he believes they might be able to offer as much as $2 a square foot to get rid of what is called "nonfunctional turf," or lawn that is largely ornamental and sees no real use.

"A dollar a square foot, which is what you get now, it’s not enough," Rep. Owens said.

He argued that $1 a square foot may get people to apply when they're doing a remodel on their yard. But it's not enough to convince people to just go ahead and get rid of the turf.

"We're hoping that new level will get more people doing it," he said.

Rep. Owens said his bill would also continue to place restrictions on nonfunctional turf in any new construction projects. Some cities across Utah, particularly in the St. George area, have already enacted similar ordinances.

Rep. Owens' bill is one of many water conservation bills being proposed in the 2023 Utah State Legislature. Many are in response to the shrinking Great Salt Lake.






Fox 13 Reporter
Ben Winslow is FOX 13's reporter on Capitol Hill covering a wide variety of topics including politics, polygamy, vice and courts. He has been in the news business in Utah for more than 20 years now, working in radio, newspaper, television and digital news. Winslow has received numerous honors for his reporting, including a national Edward R. Murrow award; the Religion Newswriters Association Local TV News Report of the Year; the Utah Broadcaster's Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. Readers of Salt Lake City Weekly and Q Salt Lake have named him their "Best TV news reporter" for many years now. He co-hosts "Utah Booze News: An Alcohol Policy Podcast," covering the state's often confusing and quirky liquor laws. Winslow is also known for his very active Twitter account keeping Utahns up-to-date on important news.

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