Commission Hears Forest Service Update
Mesia Nyman updated the Emery County Commission on the forest service projects accomplished this year. She said the wildland urban interface project at Joe's Valley has been completed. A pinyon/juniper reduction was done on the hillside next to the Reeder subdivision, behind Swaseys subdivision and near the Sportsmans Lodge. A lot of the debris has been chewed into mulch and some just left in piles to be burned in the winter.
A fuels treatment has been completed at Little Nelson Mountain on pinyon and juniper. Six-hundred and fifty acres will be completed by next week. The forest service had a goal of treating 460 acres and 415 acres of noxious weed treatment has taken place. Nyman said, "The permittees are also involved in weed control. We also pay sheepherders who work on the weeds. Utah Power and some boy scouts did a project in James Canyon where they removed the seed heads from musk thistle."
Nyman said the Muddy Roads analysis will be out in draft by the end of the month and public meetings will be scheduled in November. The South Manti timber sale has been resigned, but the appeal period is not complete yet. The East Mountain SITLA project which includes a well pad for drilling and also a timber harvest has been appealed by the Utah Environmental Congress.
Nyman said the use fires have been doing good in burning downed wood. The six-mile road has been closed and when some hazardous trees have been cut the road will be reopened. The comment period for the reevaluation of inventoried roadless areas ended on Aug. 31. Commissioner Ira Hatch wondered why the areas had to be evaluated again when they didn't qualify under the Wilderness Act.
Nyman explained that with the national forest management act they are required to keep reevaluating areas for any changes that may have taken place. Commissioner Hatch also requested a copy of the second draft on the Quitchupah road.
Nyman suggested to the commission that they take advantage of the Healthy Forests act and submit projects the local governments would like to see completed on the forest. This could include projects on the beetle killed forests. Nyman recommended specific projects which includes treatments on a few canyons at a time. Commissioner Hatch expressed his dismay that the beetle kill has continued into Huntington Canyon and the trees there next season will be as brown as those on the Joe's Valley side of the mountain. He expressed his frustration with the environmental movements which protested any chance for harvesting of those beetle infested trees before the infestations grew to the epidemic we are experiencing now on the forest. He also encouraged the forest service to keep the boat ramp at Huntington Reservoir in mind.
Nyman said everything has been done towards that end and now they are just waiting for some funding of the project. The forest service wishes to work with the county to obtain funding for the boat ramp, much the same as funding has been secured for the low water boat ramp at Joe's Valley. Commissioner Drew Sitterud said the work on the low water boat ramp at Joe's Valley will begin on Sept. 15.
Under concerned citizens, Gary Petty spoke about the Quitchupah road. He was concerned that the needs of the cattlemen in the area are not being adequately addressed. Commissioner Hatch said they are still waiting to see the second draft document, but the commission is supportive of the cattlemen and had requested cattle underpasses be put in along the road and also requested that the road be closed at various times when the cattle were being taken up and brought down. The draft document will be reviewed and if the needs of the cattlemen are not addressed adequately then the commission will work to make the wishes of the cattlemen known.
The bids for the concrete work on the fuel tanks for the road department was awarded to Ernie Jensen for a bid of $11, 260.
At 5 p.m. the public hearing for the proposed amendments to the Emery County general plan was held. Attorney Alan Thorpe explained the proposed changes to the audience. No public comments were made. The hearing closed and returned to commission meeting where the proposed changes to the county plan were approved.
The commissioners gave their reports to the audience. Commissioner Gary Kofford said he had attended a meeting in Emery City with the water users. They were concerned about the disappearance of water in their springs. A field trip will be held on Sept. 23-24 to ride the springs and look at subsidence in Box Canyon with the Division of Oil, Gas and Mining officials. Commissioner Kofford also mentioned a meeting they had with the homeowners association for the Fillmore subdivision. Apparently there are some zoning questions which need to be addressed in the future. Attorney Thorpe will be looking into the situation for the county.
Commissioner Hatch reported that he had attended the insurance board meeting in Salt Lake. He also attended a RS-2477 planning meeting with the state where they introduced the new people working on the issue. They also requested information on the closed roads in the county and public lands director, Ray Petersen will provide them with the requested information. Commissioner Hatch also attended planning meetings on risk management for planning and zoning and worker's compensation to learn things the county can do to make it less vulnerable and also save money. Hatch also reported that he attended Gene Dunham's funeral in Green River as a representative of the county.
Dunham was a long-time resident of Green River and active in water and soil issues. Hatch also reported that the Phase II document for the Huntington North Reservoir has been released.
Commissioner Sitterud reported on the draft resource management plan and the BLM meetings he attended in Castle Dale, Green River, Price and Salt Lake.
He said the Salt Lake meeting drew the greatest crowd with a lot of SUWA representation.