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Let’s get involved

4485 Views 62 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  one4fishing
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This is one that fascinates me, actually. Let's just assume, for the sake of argument, this company could actually do all the things they claim they can do. (For the record, I don't think they can...but for sake of this post, we're assuming they can.) I would actually be in favor of this proposal. Yes, it would change the dynamic of the lake, but with the positives it would bring, that change would be welcomed by me in a big way.

Now, back to reality. I don't think they can do what they claim they can, and therefore, believe this plan should be opposed. It is troubling the lengths that the legislature has gone to clear the way for this. Aside from the environmental issues involved, I think they would receive legal challenges based upon the navigable nature of Utah Lake. I do not believe the state can divest ownership of the beds, or even portions of beds, of navigable waters.
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Interesting thought. I haven't heard that argument before. I wonder though if there could be a "work-around" devised where the developer leases the land instead?
I’m not sure on the leasing, but if they were planning to build developments and have everything be a lease to be paid to the state? Can you imagine that monthly income?!?!? They couldn’t just do a cheap lease and let the developers cash in. And they couldn’t sell any of it, the state would retain ownership. Under federal law, the beds of navigable waters are held by the states (the people…more specifically) and can’t be sold. They are to be held in the public trust in perpetuity. The Utah legislature does not have the ability to change that.

I still think the ESA challenge is especially strong. June suckers are endemic, currently on the endangered list, and I can't see any scenario where that much dredging wouldn't at least temporarily alter the water quality and environment to pose a risk to them. If the Center for Biological Diversity can sue over Bonneville cutts, and win cases regarding wolves and grizzly bears, June sucker litigation is a layup.
I agree.
This common attitude towards Utah Lake is why I fear this scheme might actually go through.
Most of our population only ever sees the lake as they drive past. Most believe it to be some sort of toxic dump and buy into the talk of it needing to be fixed.
I realize this is an issue for some, but I live about a mile from the lake as the crow flies. I’ve spent plenty of time there doing all sorts of activities. When I read stories of the historic cutthroat populations that thrived there before people screwed it up, and then see it today, I can assure you with zero doubt in my mind that the place needs to be “fixed.”

I’m not sure it can. But given the choice, I’d take what it was over what it is any day of the week. If we could get that, I’d support it 100%. That would be incredible. But Utah Lake, even with its faults, is worth protecting today too.
What do you like about the promised stuff? Not trying to bash here because honestly I’m kinda curious to what they could actually do myself.
If they could seriously eradicate phrag I think the state should keep them on full time.
Fair question. I’m talking about their claims to dredge it fully, making it a deeper, cooler, cleaner lake that could support native species again like the cutthroat. The islands for bird nesting, refuges, and general habitat could be really cool and in theory could really increase fishing and hunting opportunities. And as you said, phrag eradication would be incredible!

Now these are all their claims, and again, I don’t believe personally that they could pull all this off, so overall am against the project. But in my hypothetical where they are able to do it, I’d be all for it.
I think you’ve illustrated why this is going to have a hard time passing the permitting process. This is a MAJOR project with a lot connected to it. This won’t breeze through a public process easily. Especially if people stay involved and speak out against it.

When I mention what the lake was historically, I’m talking more the health of the lake itself rather than the look of the lake itself. And for some of the reasons you mentioned (IE- causeways, etc.), I don’t believe they can restore it to historical health. And yes, if they could return the lake to a cutthroat trout paradise with all the ecological benefits they claim will happen, I’d be okay putting homes on some of the islands. But again, I don’t think they can do it. So it’s more than a pipe dream.
Phrag isn’t as big of an enemy to waterfowl or hunters on that lake as they want everyone to believe. It isn’t choking out the feed for birds like it does on other water bodies. Birds use it for refuge from the elements and hunters. It also creates incredible hunting pockets of you are willing to work to get to them. I’d be sad to see it disappear. I think others would too once they saw the impact it would have. And those island wont improve hunting opportunities for anyone. It’ll restrict hunting opportunities even more.
I’m aware of the opportunities phrag presents for hunting, but phrag is bad, no matter how you slice it. Phrag needs to be eliminated for about 57 different reasons. Even if that means people’s hiding spots from birds are reduced.

I don’t know that I ever stated that islands would increase hunting opportunities, and I think I’ve been MORE than clear that I don’t believe the claims made by the developer are possible. Not sure what else I can say more.
I don’t mean increased hunting opportunities on the islands themselves (which would have residents on them) but in general.

A healthier ecosystem, in theory, equals more birds, animals and fish. More birds, animals and fish…in theory, equal more hunting and fishing opportunities.

All in theory, because I don’t think they can do what they claim, and won’t get the approval to try. The second part of that mostly because I’m banking on people being willing to comment where it actually counts as freely as they do on this forum. Scary assumption, I know.
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This group pushing this initiative just comes across so shady!

Listened to a radio ad on my way home and “Mike” who has been boating in Utah Lake since he was 4 years old claims nobody will launch their boat there anymore and nobody will swim there. This is why we have to clean it up.

I challenge him to sit on the corner of my street and count boats headed to the lake each day here in a few months. I don’t have a boat but my family recreates often on the lake with kayaks, swimming, etc. If you have to lie to convince people of your position, then your position is wrong.
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I also wonder if the legal questions pointed out by Nilla earlier about lake bed ownership and navigability also shot this thing down?
This is exactly what they’re talking about. When they mention “unconstitutional” and “public trust” they are referring to that question I raised. Which is interesting to me, I’m not a water law expert and that is the first thing I thought of when I heard about this. I would think those experts involved should have raised that question a lot earlier. I guess all those days in the stream access fights weren’t a waste of time! #LongliveUSAC #UtahWaterguardians

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Yeah, those were heady times when many of us were trekking up to the Capitol.

Educational for even the non lawyers too.
While things have not gone exactly as I had hoped (it's not over, by a long shot), it actually gave me a lot of hope that the public process can work if people will simply just get involved. I spent more time at the capitol than I'd like to acknowledge during those years, and I saw how we collectively as a group influenced legislators and policy in general. Heck, even mega-developer Greg Hughes became one of our biggest allies.

When many talk about not having a voice I think back to these days and remember that you only don't have a voice if you choose not to use it.

Think about the response if 50 UWN members showed up to every RAC and WB meeting with a united voice calling for change to something for the next three years. That would not be ignored, I promise you.
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