The Blanding Wastewater Treatment Ponds (WWTP for short) are 4 ponds used for treating the waste water from the town of Blanding, Utah. Situated on the south end of town the ponds are the only notable bodies of water and marshland in Blanding creating an oasis in the otherwise barren desert here on the Colorado Plateau. The ponds have rock banks with some exposed mud flats as well as cattails and other reeds and cover creating a great habitat for migrating waterbirds. The ponds are private property and must be viewed from public roads around them on the north and east sides. Some sparse farm land is also nearby but for the most part the surrounding area is arid desert.
Sewage ponds + barren desert = some of the best birding in the area. This equation holds true throughout the desert southwest and in Blanding it is no different. These ponds get birds that would otherwise not be seen very often in San Juan County. Given that there is no one regularly reporting birds from Blanding the actual productivity and true status of many of the birds that use these ponds is really unknown. If you are passing through Blanding this is a must stop for birds--after all it may be the only location away from Lake Powell that gets a decent variety of waterbirds in the desert here. For started the waterfowl list is very impressive with 17 species including WOOD DUCK, CANVASBACK, HOODED MERGANSER, and BLUE-WINGED TEAL all being recorded. EARED, WESTERN, and CLARK'S GREBE in addition to PIED-BILLED GREBE have been found here. GREAT and SNOWY EGRET along with BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON have been observed while WHITE-FACED IBIS use this location in good numbers throughout spring migration. This oasis is a saving grace for shorebirds and during spring migration GREATER YELLOWLEGS, WILLET, LONG-BILLED CURLEW, MARBLED GODWIT, and WILSON'S PHALAROPE have been observed here among others. Both BONAPARTE'S and FRANKLIN'S GULL have been recorded during spring migration as well as CALIFORNIA and RING-BILLED GULLS. Passerine species are drawn to the green surrounding the water during migration and various warblers and sparrows have been seen here. COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, LARK SPARROW, SAGE THRASHER, and SAY'S PHOEBE are all expected during the breeding season. Currently there are no checklists for the winter and early spring here. Winter and fall migration really might turn up some great birds, so don;t hesitate to scope things here if you are passing through. I consider this the best birding location in Blanding.
From the corner of Center and Main Streets in Blanding head south on Main Street/US-191 for 3.6 miles. Turn left onto Shirt Tail Corner and go 200' til you reach the ponds.