We need your voice!

We need your voice!

Posted by Nicole on Mar 6th 2019

Thank you Backcountry Hunters and Anglers and Utah Rivers Council for presenting us with information regarding the Bear River Water Development Project and it's counter part: Senate Bill 214, and hosting a "Learn to Lobby Day" up on the hill. I want to encourage our stream loving community to call, write, email their senator asking for a "YES" on SB 214, because I feel the Bear River Water Development is not the solution to our "water needs" and instead  promises to be a detriment to the vital natural resources we as anglers need and love.

Simply put: the Bear River Water Development Project is a 2.5 billion dollar idea to create reservoirs on the Bear River. This project is gaining momentum with the notion that we're running out of water; a fallacy which other western states, like Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, even California through conservation measures, not dams have proven to be wrong. By damming the Bear River several (possibly 5) times as it makes its way to the Great Salt Lake- this project will collect water to then be shuttled to the Wasatch Front and beyond for essentially lawn watering via pipeline. 

This project has its sights on reducing the Bear River inflow into the Great Salt Lake by 70%, by locking water up behind the proposed dams. Some of the more obvious repercussions of this project are: exposed ancient shorelines, loss of vital bird habitat and destroyed spawning beds. The Bear is the only inlet to our Great Salt Lake- and with reduced lake levels the exposed shore will quickly dry out- and with the prevailing winds being what they are toxic dust storms will whip through Ogden, the Marmalade District, the Avenues delivering particulates to our doorsteps literally. Our air quality will be more than just a "winter time" issue. 

The Snowy Plover, the American Tundra Swan, the Burrowing owls, Bank swallows are 4 of the 230 or so species of birds that rest their weary bodies along the banks of the Great Salt Lake in the now threatened Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge. If you didn't know, we are considered the Serengeti of North America-due to the incredible biodiversity that visits us every year, a title not to be squandered needlessly. 

The Bonneville Cutthroat trout, which was once thought to be extinct, have spawning beds in Temple Fork that will be gone, wiped out by the proposed Temple Fork River Dam. These are world renown natural wonders, the Great Salt Lake itself, the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, and the tributaries to the Bear in Logan canyon which could be easily spared from the Bear River Development Project with simple water conservation. 

Pipeline-Kim-Edit.png

We Utahans use more water then everyone else in the country and we live in the driest state, besides Nevada. Our rainfall tops out at around 12 inches a year.  So at first more water sounds like a good idea. If you've lived in the West for any amount of time- you know that water is worth more than gold, and power is where the water is. So, it makes sense why we would be suggesting something as absurd as the Bear River Water Development Project- absurd, and dare I say it: dangerous. 

So instead of reducing our water use by using our own beloved free market system-we have proposed the 2.5 billion dollar bad idea. Senate Bill 214 asks to remove our water subsidy making it possible to pay what water is worth based on usage. Which will by the nature of economics reduce our use and it won't cost us the "b" word. We, Utah- are the only drought prone western state that has not yet adopted this way of monitoring and charging for water use. " Utah residents pay some of the lowest water prices in the nation, which partially explains why {we} consume more water than all other states." -Utah Rivers Council "Alternatives to the Bear River Development Project" 

This is a fiscally conservative bill, ironically.

We have a choice: jeopardize vastly important natural resources by being silent and allowing the Bear River Development Project to continue or speak out, show up for SB 214 and reduce our water use. 

If SB 214 is voted in, which it won't unless we take action, we will use less water because we will be charged for it, and we won't need the dams that are being proposed. You will pay mind you, regardless. The end result will be dams... or it will be responsible water use. If we conserve water we won't have to build dams, we will reduce water, and save our natural resources.  Win- win-win! 

In closing: Please use your voice to speak for SB 214 and conserving the water we have, otherwise we will get the dams. It's that cut and dry.

"Simple and effective conservation measures such as SB 214 are far more financially reasonable to the consumer than the cost of paying for short term fiscally irresponsible water project such as the 2.5 billion dollar multi-dam project that is being proposed on the Bear River, impacting some of the more important waterways in the state if not the West. It seems reasonable to get an idea of what we can conserve first at a minimal cost to the consumer, before impacting one of the world's great wetlands, the Great Salt Lake." - Our Western Rivers Steve 

If your reason is the free market, saving money or the snowy plover, your children's respiratory health, your love of wild places, or being a responsible Utahan it is important- so very important that you write or call your senator and tell them to vote yes on SB 214.

(I know it sounds scary, but it isn't- and it is very important we do it)


Take Action to Help Save the Temple Fork Fishery, the Bear River and the Great Salt Lake!

( An Article By Utah Rivers Council) 

Take Action to Help Save the Temple Fork Fishery, the Bear River and the Great Salt Lake! Temple Fork is a vital fishery for Bonneville Cutthroat Trout but is threatened by a proposed dam for Bear River Development. Two bills at the Utah Legislature will help ensure we save Temple Fork and keep the Bear River and Great Salt Lake healthy for the future. Help us save Temple Fork and the Bear River by asking your Senators to vote YES on these two bills: SB 214: Save Billions of Gallons of Water SB 214, Property Tax Relief Modifications, will provide tax relief and save billions.

Temple Fork is a vital fishery for Bonneville Cutthroat Trout but is threatened by a

proposed dam for Bear River Development. Two bills at the Utah Legislature will

help ensure we save Temple Fork and keep the Bear River and Great Salt Lake

healthy for the future. Help us save Temple Fork and the Bear River by asking your

Senators to vote YES on these two bills:

SB 214: Save Billions of Gallons of Water

SB 214, Property Tax Relief Modifications, will provide tax relief and save billions of

gallons of water by lowering property tax collections by water suppliers. These

taxes lower our water rates and incentivize water waste by big landowners and

large government entities.

SB 214 is currently at the Nat. Resources, Ag., and Enviro. Committee.

Call and/or email your Senator today asking them to Vote YES on SB214!

Sen. Derek Kitchen (D) 801.674.6141, dkitchen@le.utah.gov

Sen. Jani Iwamoto (D) 801.580.8414, jiwamoto@le.utah.gov

Sen. Scott Sandall (R) 435.279.7551, ssandall@le.utah.gov

Sen. Allen Christensen(R) 801.782.5600, achristensen@le.utah.gov

Sen. Jerry Stevenson (R) 801.678.3147, jwstevenson@le.utah.gov

Sen. Ralph Okerlund (R) 435.979.7077, rokerlund@le.utah.gov

Sen. Keith Grover (R) 801.319.0170, keithgrover@le.utah.gov

Sen. David Hinkins (R) 801.384.5550, dhinkins@le.utah.gov

Sen. Evan Vickers (R) 435.817.5565, evickers@le.utah.gov

( WRITE THEM PLEASE!)

SB 52 could save enough water for 300,000 people.

SB 52, Secondary Water Requirements, would require secondary water suppliers to

install meters on secondary water systems to monitor their water use. Installing

meters to let residents know how much water they use lowers water use by 40-

60%.

SB 52 is currently at the Senate floor. Call and/or email your Senator today

asking them to Vote YES on SB 52. 

You can find your senator at le.utah.gov.

Contact Utah Rivers Council for more information or to get involved in stopping

Bear River Development at Claire@utahrivers.org, or by calling 801-486-4776.

Utah Rivers Council

1055 East 2100 South, Suite 201

Salt Lake City, Utah 84106

801-486-4776

www.utahrivers.org

Here are some links to other articles written about this project.

https://pactio.us/news/utah-to-begin-acquiring-land-for-unloved-bear-river-development-project

http://utahrivers.org/bear-river-development