|Comments on the draft resource management plan for Huntington North can be made until Dec. 15.|
Comments on Huntington North RMP will be taken until Dec. 15
The United States Bureau of Reclamation has been involved in a planning process to develop a resource management plan for the Huntington North Reservoir. Chris Sands from Bio-West has been the project team leader. Comments will be taken on the draft resource management plan until close of business on Dec. 15. Alternatives developed are Alternative A which is the no action alternative, Alternative B with an emphasis on conservation and Alternative C with an emphasis on recreation development.
In Alternative B it is recommended that the southwest cove area, be closed. This is the area accessed by Homestead Road, north of Huntington which goes up a steep hill and into a parking area that allows access for swimming and fishing in the southwest cove area. Alternative B would close the designated roads and parking area. Where appropriate the dike access trail through this area would be maintained, but outside access would be restricted. Disturbed areas would be revegetated and erosion control would be provided as necessary.
This Alternative would also recognize the north end of the reservoir as a natural area and would not emphasize recreational activities. Use would be limited to protect wildlife and improve habitat.
In the Alternative C, the southwest cove area would be designated a developed day use recreation area. Proposals would be considered for improving the access road and parking area to meet convenience and safety concerns. Restroom and garbage facilities would be provided. Proposals would be considered for installing fishing and swimming docks. the area would be designated wakeless.
Also under Alternative C, a portion of the state park area would also be designated a developed overnight and day use group recreation area. A designated group camping area with restroom facilities would be provided. State Parks would continue to manage this area for developed recreation and make improvements as necessary. The park's landscape irrigation system would be upgraded to provide for better water conservation throughout the season and to allow for adequate watering during drought conditions. A contract vendor would be allowed to provide water based recreation equipment rentals such as canoes and paddle boats.
In each of the alternatives, the dam and dike area are know as the primary jurisdiction area. The area is set aside for dam operation and maintenance. This doesn't change in any of the alternatives as this is the function for which Huntington North Reservoir was built to supply irrigation water to farmers. The recreational aspect of the reservoir is secondary to its primary purpose and any development or nondevelopment will not affect this function.
The 25 boat limit will continue to be enforced on the reservoir regardless of which alternative is chosen. It was mentioned that by 2006 a statewide capacity survey will be done on all lakes and reservoirs. The 25 boat limit was discussed for Huntington North and the consensus was this was a good number for the reservoir.
Hunting is now allowed on some portions of the study area, but hunting will be phased out due to safety concerns due to the small area involved.
The purpose of developing a resource management plan is in accordance with the reclamation recreation management act of 1992 which authorized the preparation of RMPs to "provide for the development, use, conservation, protection, enhancement, and management of resources on Reclamation lands in a manner that is compatible with the authorized purpose of the reclamation project associated with the Reclamation lands."
The purpose of the RMP is to produce a document that will guide Reclamation, along with local, state, federal and other participating agencies, in managing, allocating, and appropriately using Huntington North Reservoir's land and water resources. The RMP is also important in assisting Reclamation in making decisions regarding the management of recreation resources. Resource management issues and problems existing at Huntington North Reservoir are addressed through various management solutions. The RMP document will include long-term management goals and objectives for the reservoir and its associated lands.
Tim Smith from Utah State Parks and Recreation said he would like to see the southwest cove area stay available for kids to go swim and fish without it becoming a fee area. Smith said that funds are tight and it is important to spend funds for the upkeep and maintenance of existing facilities in satisfactory condition.
Jim Jensen from Reclamation emphasized that the RMP doesn't change any existing contracts they will all still be in place. The RMP covers the need to have a document in place which can be referred to when questions arise concerning management or other issues.
Huntington State Park Manager Dan Richards said he has concerns with Alternative B and a closure of the southwest cove area. He feels it is an area of high value in close proximity to the town where kids can go without paying a fee and it can be reached by bicycle. His concern was in building facilities and charging a fee.
Jensen summarized the consensus of the group which seemed to be to allow continued use of the southwest cove until it becomes a problem or improvements could take place.
The comments received during the public comment period will be answered in the final document and this will become the guidance document for the next 10-15 years.
The Bureau of Reclamation will decide which alternative is adopted and it might be a combination of all the alternatives in the final document.
The final document is expected to be out by January 2005.
Jensen said that as monies become available state parks have been renovated citing Willard Bay, Deer Creek and Rockport as examples.
He said having a plan in place is imperative as these funds become available for projects outlined in such RMP documents.
Comments need to be received by Dec. 15 and can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to Peter Crookston, Bureau of Reclamation, Provo Area Office, 302 East 1860 South, Provo, UT 84606-7317.