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Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Thursday, March 30th, 2017.

Congress to consider water rights settlement between Utah, Navajo Nation

Water rights

Deseret News

@dennisromboy

SALT LAKE CITY — Sen. Orrin Hatch and Rep. Jason Chaffetz have introduced legislation to create a settlement between Utah and the Navajo Nation over Colorado River water rights.

After 13 years of talks, a federal negotiations team review and the Navajo Nation Council’s approval, the state and tribe agreed to resolve the water rights claims through a negotiated settlement rather than the courts.

The bill authorizes the federal government to spend up to $198.3 million for Navajo water projects, including wells, pipelines and water treatment plants. Utah would pitch in $8 million. In exchange, the legislation would limit the legal exposure and litigation costs of the federal government and the state.

“This result took a great deal of time and commitment, and I’m grateful so many willing partners stepped up to the plate to address this complex issue,” Hatch, R-Utah, said in a statement.

Navajo Nation Speaker of the House Lorenzo Bates said the legislation is a great step forward in bringing safe, clean drinking water to Utah Navajo communities.

The settlement is a win-win for the nation and the state, said Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye.

“Consequently, we are looking forward to working with Sen. Hatch, Rep. Chaffetz and the rest of the Utah congressional delegation in moving this historic legislation through Congress,” Begaye said in a statement.

The settlement would give the tribe 81,500 acre-feet annually of Utah’s unused share of water. The Navajo Nation could draw the water from aquifers, as well as the San Juan River and its tributaries. It also could divert water from Lake Powell, though it has no plans to do so, the Associated Press reported last year.

The Navajo communities in Utah currently use only a fraction of the water allocated in the settlement. But the agreement would allow for economic development and leasing of water to entities off the reservation, and the tribe wouldn’t lose any water it did not put to use, according to the settlement.

Chaffetz, R-Utah, said the settlement will improve the quality of life for Utah Navajos.

MORE

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865676750/Congress-to-consider-water-rights-settlement-between-Utah-Navajo-Nation.html

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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Utah: State wants $145,000 in Tibble Fork sediment release

Dams other than Klamath

PNP comment: Wow, Utah recognizes the environmental damage and fish-kill associated with sediment release into a river. Too bad, Oregon and California can’t see the same problem if the Klamath dams are destroyed. — Editor Liz Bowen

Deseret News

@amyjoi16

SALT LAKE CITY — Last August’s sediment release during the restoration of the Tibble Fork Dam is prompting Utah water quality regulators to seek more than $145,000 in penalties and reimbursement from the dam’s operators.

About 5,200 fish died in a 2-mile stretch of the American Fork River in Utah County after 5,000 cubic yards of metals-laden mud washed into the waterway on Aug. 22.

Utah Division of Wildlife Resources employees Mike Slater and Stuart Bagley use electrification tools to identify fish mortality in the American Fork River below Tibble Fork Dam on Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2016. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

The dam and reservoir, operated by the North Utah County Water Conservancy District, serves downstream irrigators that include farmers and cities.

In a proposed settlement agreement signed Thursday, the water district agreed to pay $52,500 in penalties and nearly $93,000 in reimbursement to the Utah Division of Water Quality to cover sampling and monitoring costs incurred from Aug. 23 to Sept. 5.

The district also agreed to monitor the river until its health is restored to prerelease conditions.

“We want to ensure that the water quality of the American Fork River is restored and that residual sediments from the release don’t degrade the river or threaten public health or aquatic life in the future,” said Walt Baker, water quality director. “Most importantly, we want to make sure that this kind of incident doesn’t happen again.”

MORE

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865676753/State-wants-145000-in-Tibble-Fork-sediment-release.html

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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Liz Writes Life 3-28-17

Liz Writes Life

March 28, 2017

Liz Writes Life

Our peas are up about an inch high and it is time to get onion starts in the ground. Yep, after the dark snowy winter, gardening season will soon be upon us. Sure do love the bright color that spring bulbs and flowers bring.

Water

April 4, 2017 is an important day to support Siskiyou County in its application to the State of California as a Groundwater Sustainable Agency. The county needs to be in control of our groundwater and if the GSA application is not approved, the state will take over control of our groundwater — immediately. Ugh.

Elizabeth Nielsen, Siskiyou County Natural Resources Specialist, did a thorough job explaining the new state law regarding groundwater at the Scott Valley Protect Our Water meeting last week. This situation is a bit ominous. If the county does not create its own Groundwater Sustainable Agency and submit its application for that agency by June 30, 2017, the State Water Board will intervene to manage groundwater extraction activities in Siskiyou County. The State Water Board will have the power to assess fees for its involvement and will levy fees of $100 per well and in unmanaged areas the cost will be $10 per acre foot per year if the well is metered and $25 per year if not the well is not metered. Yep, this is scary and costly. Oh, and will start on July 1, 2017!

Our county supervisors are proposing that the Siskiyou Flood Control and Conservation District serve as the agency that will oversee the Sustainable Groundwater Management Plan. The plan must be operable by 2022 using information developed by local landowner committees in the four subbasins that are affected. Those subbasins are: Scott Valley, Shasta Valley, Butte Valley and the Tulelake area.

Actually, a sub-type of agency will be developed in each of these subbasins. The important key is that the agency members will be local landowners and groundwater users, including water districts and municipalities.

Ray Haupt, Siskiyou Co. Dist. 5 Supervisor, said the county hopes the citizens will support its application to the state. He wants to “seize this process” and keep control local over groundwater instead of the state’s one-size-fits-all demands. Ray said the county supervisors voiced vigorous opposition to the 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. But it passed the state legislature and Gov. Brown signed it into law.

Elizabeth is asking individuals with groundwater wells to attend and express support at the April 4th hearing. She has been tasked with completing the county’s application. The hearing will be held at 1:30 p.m. at the supervisors’ chambers at the courthouse in Yreka. This is next week folks. Please attend or write-in comments of support.

For more on the GSA law and process, go to Elizabeth’s website for a power point presentation. The easiest way to find the site is to Google “Siskiyou County Natural Resources Department” and when you reach the site, scroll down and in the middle is a list with “Natural Resources – Groundwater” in it. Or give Elizabeth a call at 530-842-8012.

Scott Valley Plan

At the Protect Our Water meeting last week, Ray explained the basics of the Scott Valley Plan. It was hashed-out during the 1970s and in Nov. 1980, the county supervisors adopted the plan. Custom and culture was a major feature of the Scott Valley Plan. It is restrictive regarding zoning. The emphasis was on agriculture and open space for future land use decisions and development. The plan was developed by a self-appointed citizen’s committee that held 21 public meetings from 1978 to 1980 and also went through the dreaded CEQA process.

As a summary, Ray explained the plan’s major points: No high density development; development is only to occur near other developed areas; fire, ambulance and public services should not be over-burdened with any population increase; all uses of land should be compatible with neighboring lands; and intensive development is not to occur on the valley floor. The maximum population of Scott Valley should not be over 20,000. Control and style of growth was the major reason for placing the zoning restrictions.

I will add that the JH Guest Ranch is certainly outside the Scott Valley Plan. In my opinion, the gradual expansion of JH guests were ignored by the county back in the 1990s. Ray said the supervisors are working to see the ranch is reeled back and conforms to the zoning codes.

Wolf

Wolf-lovers are ecstatic. Young wolves from the Shasta Wolf Pack have been found across the state line in Nevada. The wolves were spotted west of Black Rock Desert in November.

This is the concern for those of us, who are not lovers of wolf population expansion. Without management of a hunting season, the wolf population will continue to grow affecting wildlife prey populations and attacks on livestock. The “plan” was to allow the Canadian Gray Wolf population to naturally expand from Idaho into Oregon and California through protection of the Endangered Species Act. Yep, it is working.

Erin’s Law

To learn more about helping children stand-up to sexual abuse, attend the Yreka Tea Party Patriots’ meeting tonight at 6:30 p.m. at the Covenant Chapel Church, 200 Greenhorn Rd. in Yreka. Siskiyou Co. Superintendent of Schools, Kermith Walters, will present the program that is being implemented in our schools.

Zinke

The Siskiyou Co. Water Users Assoc. sent a letter supporting Siskiyou County’s invitation to the newly appointed U.S. Sec. of Interior, Ryan Zinke, asking him to visit Siskiyou Co. and to oppose the destruction of the four hydro-electric dams in the Klamath River. President Richard Marshall cited the 2010 advisory vote by Siskiyou Co. where nearly 80 percent of the residents oppose dam removal and Klamath County’s vote last year where 75 percent opposed dam removal.

Wow, that would be wonderful for Sec. Zinke to visit Siskiyou and see first-hand the damage that dam removal would do to our environment.

Liz Bowen is a native of Siskiyou Co. and lives near Callahan. Call her at 530-467-3515.

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