Talks rev at river meetings
by Rose Egelhoff
The Times-Independent
Jul 12, 2018 | 1632 views | 0 0 comments | 40 40 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A proposed management plan of the Colorado River will balance existing uses with managing navigation, fish and wildlife habitat, aquatic beauty, public recreation and water quality. This bridge is an example of an existing use.           Photo by Rose Egelhoff
A proposed management plan of the Colorado River will balance existing uses with managing navigation, fish and wildlife habitat, aquatic beauty, public recreation and water quality. This bridge is an example of an existing use. Photo by Rose Egelhoff
slideshow


On June 27, the Utah Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands held a stakeholder meeting for those interested in their current project: developing a comprehensive management plan for the Colorado and Green rivers. People at the meeting raised concerns about conflicts between motorized and non-motorized recreation on the river, according to Laura Vernon, sovereign lands planner for FFSL.

FFSL is responsible in part for managing sovereign lands of the State of Utah. “Sovereign land consists of the beds of Utah’s navigable rivers and lakes,” says the organization’s website. “The beds of the Jordan and Bear rivers, as well as portions of the Colorado and Green rivers, are state sovereign lands. The beds of Great Salt Lake, Utah Lake and Bear Lake are all managed by the division under the ‘Public Trust’ doctrine.”

“FFSL is required to ensure that all uses on, beneath or above the bed of the Green and Colorado rivers are regulated to protect navigation, fish and wildlife habitat, aquatic beauty, public recreation and water quality. The development of the comprehensive management plans and update of the mineral leasing plan will ensure that FFSL maintains clear and consistent guidance on the management of ... river resources,” states an FFSL press release.

Vernon said that the issue of user conflicts was the main point to come out of the meeting.

“You have motorized users traveling upstream and non-motorized users going downstream. There have been reports of conflicts, increasing reports of conflicts as more people are getting out to enjoy the river. [We are] looking at how we can possibly address those situations,” Vernon said.

Another issue, Vernon said, was safe access to the river.

“If boat ramps are in need of repair or if we need to relocate a boat ramp or install a new boat ramp, [we’ll take] public comment or consideration on where those new ramps should be or where they shouldn’t be ... access for recreation is another issue that will be important in planning,” Vernon said.

In their Green River stakeholder meetings, Vernon said that stakeholders were more concerned with how to bring irrigation pumps into compliance with new regulations.

“We’re asking that folks who do operate agricultural pumps along the river get a permit to operate on sovereign lands. So there was just some question and concern about how to do that and bring their pumps into compliance, which we thought was really helpful for them to come to the meeting and ask those questions. Then those concerns and comments from the agricultural community were also held by folks up in Vernal, in the Uintah Basin on the Green River as well. There’s a lot of agricultural use there as well,” Vernon said.

FFSL will start drafting their plan for the two rivers over the course of the next month, Vernon said. They hope to finish the draft by spring of 2019.


Copyright 2013 The Times-Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

report abuse...

Express yourself:

We're glad to give readers a forum to express their points of view on issues important to this community. That forum is the “Letters to the Editor.” Letters to the editor may be submitted directly to The Times-Independent through this link and will be published in the print edition of the newspaper. All letters must be the original work of the letter writer – form letters will not be accepted. All letters must include the actual first and last name of the letter writer, the writer’s address, city and state and telephone number. Anonymous letters will not be accepted.

Letters may not exceed 400 words in length, must be regarding issues of general interest to the community, and may not include personal attacks, offensive language, ethnic or racial slurs, or attacks on personal or religious beliefs. Letters should focus on a single issue. Letters that proselytize or focus on theological debates will not be published. During political campaigns, The Times-Independent will not publish letters supporting or opposing any local candidate. Thank you letters are generally not accepted for publication unless the letter has a public purpose. Thank you letters dealing with private matters that compliment or complain about a business or individual will not be published. Nor will letters listing the names of individuals and/or businesses that supported a cause or event. Thank you letters about good Samaritan acts will be considered at the discretion of the newspaper.