The Division of Wildlife Resources holds a big horn sheep watching event at Sunnyside earlier this month.
In the December public lands meeting the council heard reports from the state agencies present. The Bureau of Land Management reported the Buckhorn Information Center is moving along well, the restroom was installed and the water troughs will be moved in the spring the new pump is installed and up and working. The patent for the Millsite Golf Course expansion will be presented to Ferron City at their council meeting. The BLM also suggested the county look at a patent for the Buckhorn Information Center site.
Ray Petersen, public lands director reported he is going to the Colorado River water users convention next week in Las Vegas. He will report back next month on developments there. Mike McCandless reported the change of the point of diversion for the water for the nuclear power plant near Green River decision will be made by the end of January. Sherrel Ward reported the water subcommittee will meet on Dec. 14 at 1 p.m. to talk about the water survey and he invited all interested parties to attend.
The Division of Oil. Gas and Mining report was given by Lucy Malan. She said the abandoned mine reclamation project in the San Rafael will begin moving in 2011. The request has gone out for the oral histories of the area to be recorded and a contract will be in place by the end of January. All the histories will be due back by Sept. 30, 2011. Once this is completed a copy of the research will be kept with the BLM and Malan said a copy can be provided for the Emery County Archives as well.
The public hearing for the Crandall Canyon water bond issue will be held on Dec. 8 in Salt Lake City. This hearing is dealing with the mining company and their responsibility for the continued mine discharge water. The mining company currently is working hard to maintain the state water standards for discharge. DOGM wants to ensure the water cleanup continues as long as it is needed. Petersen said he plans to attend the hearing and will report back any decisions requiring the mining company to post a bond.
Malan reported on Dec. 20 the former Bear Canyon mine will be up and running again with the new company Rhino Energy, doing business as Castle Valley mining. McCandless reported he along with county commissioners will meet with the new company at the end of the month to meet their personnel and welcome the business to the county.
In Division of Wildlife Resources news, Paul Birdsey reported the fish structures at Huntington North Reservoir can remain, but must be monitored to make sure they don't come apart and threaten the outlets. In a meeting with the Bureau of Reclamation they also discussed the water levels at the reservoir. Interested parties and those involved would like to see more water left in the reservoir for the fish and recreational activities. The contract between the BOR and the Huntington/Cleveland Irrigation company will be reworked. Currently it says any water left in the reservoir after Nov. 1 reverts to the BOR for project water.
Birdsey reported the Wildlife Big Game board accepted option 2 in the deer hunting changes. This change will create 29 separate hunting units statewide and the number of permits will be reduced by 17,000. Those who draw out for the remaining permits can expect to see an increase in the cost of a deer permit, but the exact cost hike hasn't been determined. This reduction in permits will create a $1 million shortfall in the DWR budget. The legislature will have to address this shortfall in the January legislative session. These regulations will go into effect for the 2012 season.
Bryan Torgersen gave the SITLA report. He said they are proceeding with the sale of the Trail Mountain property at Joe's Valley Reservoir. Hopefully by spring it will be finalized. Blaine and Mary Luke own the structures there and it is hoped they will bid on the property. All of the individual structures do not belong to SITLA only the land the infrastructure is found on. SITLA has done drilling and tests and because the structures are in close proximity to the lake there can be health issues.
A large archaeology site has been found near Bluff on SITLA land. The illegal garbage dump at Elmo has been cleaned up and 1,100 tons of material were removed from the site. Torgersen said now it is clean they need the help of the public to keep it clean. Torgersen thanked the county for opening the landfill after hours and on Monday while the clean-up took place so they could dispose of all the materials accumulated there.
Petersen thanked SITLA for the clean-up work. It was mentioned there are other areas in the county that need cleanup. The BLM representative said if the county knows of areas that need clean-up they need to let the BLM know.
Priscilla Burton, lands council member said on the BLM website, they need to list more projects for volunteer opportunities and perhaps clean-up work could be considered.
Darren Olsen from the US Forest Service said the Gentry cattle allotment has been advertised. A decision is out on the Grobin controlled burn. The scoping for the Shalom/Electric lake timber sale is out for public comment. Olsen mentioned the forest service RAC is accepting ideas for projects for the forest. In the three county area, $1 million of federal money is available and 50 percent of the money is for projects that benefit the watershed and the other 50 percent can be used for other projects.
Olsen reported John Healy is retiring from the forest service and a couple of positions in minerals and wildlife are also open. Randall Stilson, lands council member told Olsen of the horrible road conditions on Red Pine Ridge. Many vehicles have been stuck there and something needs to be done. Olsen said they are looking at options for that area as well as other areas where road damage is heavy.
Dan Richards from state parks reported on Brody Young the state parks officer that was shot in Moab. He said he is still in intensive care and a tracheotomy was performed to make breathing easier. He will require surgery for a bullet fragment by the spine, but doctors are waiting until he is stronger to perform the surgery. Extensive damage was done by the bullet wounds in his hip and his left arm was shattered. Richards reported the individual who did the shooting was parked at the trail head and had apparently slept in his car. Young went over to talk to the individual and the gun fight ensued. The individual had some warrants out for his arrest and possibly the shooting stemmed from that. The official search for the suspect has been called off and in the next couple of weeks, cadaver dogs will search the area.
Richards reported any efforts to keep more water in Huntington North will be appreciated. A legislative audit was conducted on all state parks and the results from that will be released soon.
Some improvements are being made at Huntington Lake including remodeling of the office building and three full hook-up sites will be added to the park. Upgrades are also in the works for Madsen Bay at Scofield Reservoir where a fish cleaning station will be added and a handicapped fishing dock. No ice is reported at Huntington North and Millsite and Scofield has 4-6 inches of thin ice. The fourth annual ice fishing tournament will take place Jan. 8, 2011 at Scofield and is open to the first 200 fishermen to register. Contact Richards at Scofield or Huntington State Park to register. The issues at the Singleton property at Scofield has been resolved and all the buildings have been removed. A restroom may be put in there.
Petersen reported on his trip to Washington DC along with Commissioner Jeff Horrocks. They met with the Washington delegation to garner support for the Emery County land use bill the lands council is still working on. The Washington delegation voiced their support for the Emery County bill. Petersen said San Juan and Piute are also ready with their land use bills. It isn't known yet if the counties will submit separate bills individually or if the counties will work together, that will be part of future discussions.
Ward recommended the lands council send a letter of thanks to Commissioner Gary Kofford in appreciation of his work with the lands council.
Val Payne said he noticed a SUWA alert where Aron Ralston spoke in support of SUWA. The media push by SUWA is coming out now in conjunction with the movie 127 hours which chronicles the time Ralston spent in a slot canyon in southern Emery County. The Emery County Sheriff's Office was involved in the rescue of Ralston at the time of his accident.
Payne said it is more important than ever to get the Emery County land use bill into Congress and passed. McCandless reported troubles with the Candland Mountain trail. No trespassing signs have been posted on the Rocky Mountain Power property and they weren't placed by RMP but adjacent owners of property. This road is recognized and the county needs a permanent agreement with RMP to keep the road open.
Ward reported the water totals look good so far with 108 percent of average.
The next public lands meeting will be on Jan. 4, 2011.