Group Meets to Discuss Management Plan for Huntington North Reservoir
|Chris Sands from Bio-West with the map of Huntington North Reservoir.|
A work group meeting was held for the Huntington North Reservoir Resource Management Plan on April 30 at the Huntington Town Hall. Chris Sands from the Bio-West Company from Logan is the project team leader and led the discussion at the meeting. His company has been hired by the United States Bureau of Reclamation to help prepare the resource management plan.
This meeting was the fourth in a series of meetings to help prepare the plan. A subcommittee has also been formed to look at site specific issues. Sands introduced himself and his team and went around the room as participants introduced themselves and the group with which they are affiliated. Representatives from the wildlife resources, state parks, county commission, bass fishermen, water district, bureau of reclamation, irrigation companies and others with interest in the project were all in attendance.
Sands said, "We have made good progress. We will finalize discussion on issues, statements and goals. We will still tweak as we go, as we come up with new solutions or additional problems."
Jim Jensen, reclamation team leader, said they had met with the bass federation and discussed a number of topics including: fishery opportunities, structure enhancement, economics, habitat enhancements, spawning, soil and water use levels, boat docks, dam safety, water flows, intake structures and funding.
An issues statement has been prepared based on the comments received from the general public workshop which was held Jan. 23 in Huntington, also from the general public through the voluntary mail-in response form contained in the first Huntington North Reservoir RMP newsletter, from agency personnel interviewed during the planning process and from the planning work group formed for the RMP project. The work group is comprised of approximately 20 individuals who represent agencies and resource user groups that have a significant interest in the future management and use of Huntington North Reservoir. Issue categories were identified as: partnerships, water resources, recreation and visual resources, natural and cultural resources and land management.
The work group has established a list of goals and objectives as they pertain to the specific issue categories. Under the water resources goal category objectives are listed as protecting the water quality in the reservoir. Jay Mark Humphrey, Emery Water Conservancy, commented that Huntington North has pretty darn good water. Identifying water quality impacts coming from within the Huntington North Reservoir Study Area and suggesting ways to meet beneficial use designations is also a goal. Identifying areas where sanitation facilities are needed such as restrooms and refuse containers is a goal.
The project purpose of the reservoir is to meet the water needs of the users. All other identified uses are secondary to the primary job of the reservoir. With this in mind project planners hope to optimize natural resource values while meeting project purposes by identifying all water commitments and determining the effects of reservoir water operations on natural resources. Plans to explore possibilities to maintain reservoir levels as high as possible in order to optimize recreation, fishing and wildlife opportunities will be developed.
Goals for recreation and visual resources which provide for safe and quality recreation opportunities that minimize conflicts is a priority. Appropriate recreational use areas will be identified and access will be looked at. The capacities for recreation on both land and water will be identified. This will include adequate parking facilities and sites for tents. The question was brought up of establishing a boat limit for the reservoir. An unwritten guideline has been to allow 10 surface acres of water per boat. Humphrey said, "The number of boats should be identified."
The possibility of identifying areas where shotgun and archery hunting could occur will also be considered. The southwest cove area is one possiblity. Safety issues were brought up as well as making sure no shooting was allowed near the pump station. A muzzleloader or rifle would not be allowed in the area as they need a one mile buffer area. Archery and shotgun require a quarter of a mile buffer area. A 600 foot buffer is required on all structures within or adjacent to the project area.
Richard Snowball, Huntington/Cleveland Irrigation, mentioned damage that has occured on reservoirs up Huntington Canyon with people driving on the dams. "I am happy to see a ban on vehicles here at Huntington North on the structure dam." Sands mentioned that ban on vehicles would stay in place.
Other goals include recommending facility improvements and visitor needs. The issue of accessibility was discussed. All future plans include providing for people with disabilities. Louis Berg, from the DWR said, "I've talked to the lady from active re-entry who tried to explain accessibility to me. She said accessibility did not mean every location but some areas being available for people of every disability or handicap." Tim Smith, from state parks said any major new facilities would be accessible. He also mentioned that the boat docks are accessible and that the handicapped can board a boat there.
The need for group-use facilities will be explored as well as recreation opportunities for the southwest cove area. A rest area and interpretation facilities for the nature trail will also be addressed. Ron Taylor, park manager, pointed out that the entire reservoir can be walked around on the nature trail.
The possibility of an accessible fishing dock will also be explored. Upgrades will be made to the landscape watering system and water conservation methods will be explored. Exploring the possibility of adding other recreational opportunities such as canoe or paddleboat rentals as well as others was discussed.
When new facilities are designed and existing facilities maintained this will be done to compliment or enhance the natural surroundings of the reservoir; this is in keeping with the visual integrity objectives.
Under the natural and cultural resources goals the control and management of noxious and invading weeds, pests and aquatic nuisances will be addressed. The location and extent of these problems will be identified. A plan for integrated pest management will be developed. Coordination with the appropriate agencies in the county will also take place. A plant list for future landscaping, erosion control and water conservation will be developed.
The quality of the fishery will also be enhanced and protected through coordination with the DWR to identify possible fishery enhancement opportunities. Work on agreeable strategies for reducing conflicts between anglers and recreational boaters will also be done. Strategies will be developed for appropriate improvements to fishing habitat.
A plan for protection and enhancement of native vegetation and wildlife habitat will also be explored as well as a plan for erosion control. A plan to protect and manage cultural resources will be developed. The first item will be to identify the presence and integrity of cultural resource sites within the study area including historic, pre-historic, and palenontological resources, where development is proposed by the RMP.
Goals for land management will include providing safe and appropriate access to public use areas. A lot of concern was expressed about controlling the types of access to sensitive areas which could be hazardous to the general public such as the dam, canals and dikes.
The group will continue to meet to discuss the future of Huntington North Reservoir and to begin implementation of the the RMP. Their next meeting will be held on May 29 at 1 p.m. at the Huntington State Park.