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Return to Previous PageSymposium emphasized cooperation

By Staff

In a day-long seminar focused on Bear River, those attending were told over and over again the benefits of cooperation and communication.

That attitude was highlighted by Dr. Joanna Endter-Wada from Utah State University who spoke of the process of adapting to droughts. She pointed out that at the depth of the drought culminating in 2004, the cooperation of irrigation companies, PacifiCorp and Bear Lake Watch made it possible for the irrigators to have what they needed for crop irrigation, while property owners accepted their need for water even though Bear Lake levels were low. The best use of water was made possible by models that helped irrigation companies in Idaho and Utah assess what water would be available and how it was allocated.

Cooperation was also emphasized by Kirk Dahle from Trout Unlimited as he spoke of cooperation in getting fish screens in place, with the help of The Reserve, private land owners and several public agencies.

March Stenberg from PacifiCorp presented information and visuals about the decommission of the Cove Power Plant. The plant was no longer cost effective and the company agreed to take out the structures that posed barriers for Bonneville cutthroat and make the landscape more attractive.

Another speaker, Bill Hopkin, talked of the Resource Management plan that was put in place in Rich County. Ranchers formed committees which produced practices that protected riparian areas and better utilized upland areas in a sagebrush grazing area that had both private and public lands. They were force to take some action because of a group which wished to eliminate grazing on public lands and were successful in keeping their grazing permits.

Jack Barnett from the Bear River Commission talked of studies done on Bear Lake and urges those present to become more familiar with what was discovered by the studies. He is attempting to get information from the studies published in easy to read form.

In another presentation, planning organizations were urged to take into account water quality and what effects take place when there are developments and disturbance of soils.

People were also made aware of invasive species such as phragamites and quagga mussels and how to best deal with them.

Monitoring studies showed that the best information can be achieved by weekly sampling as compared with monthly sampling. Cody Allen from Utah State University explained a monitoring technique that is very inexpensive and can replace more expensive methods and still give good results in connection with more expensive sampling and testing.

Scott Tolentino a fisheries biologist explained how his agency and Idaho Fish and Game introduce sport fish to Bear Lake and try to balance the desired lake trout, Bonneville Cutthroat and other endemic fish in Bear Lake.

He showed that the smaller fish rely heavily on fish eggs during the winter spawning months, but that the larger fish rely on smaller fish for their food.

Marc Gibbs, legislator from Idaho, explained how the Bear River Basin has a lot of political background and how Idaho, Utah and Wyoming have cooperated in their efforts to manage the water in the river.

Montpelier, ID
September 16, 2009

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