Monday, March 28, 2011

Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Logan & Northern Canal

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) recently issued its draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Logan and Northern canal reconstruction project. NRCS has identified the "Purple Alternative" as its preferred alternative. This alternative proposes to move the point of diversion to the Logan, Hyde Park, and Smithfield canal point of diversion (below Second Dam) and put the combined flows into a box culvert until the Lundstrom Park / 1500 North area, at which point a pipeline will carry 40 cfs down to the old Logan and Northern canal.

A summary of the draft EIS is available by clicking here.

A full copy of the draft EIS, along with other documents and information related to the reconstrucion project, is available by clicking here.

The public is invited to make comments on the draft EIS. NRCS will host a public open house on Thursday, March 31, 2011 at BATC (1000 West 1400 North, Logan) from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. Those attending the meeting can provide written or oral comments. Comments can also be emailed or mailed to NRCS. Comments must be received by May 2, 2011 to be considered in the final Environmental Impact Statement. For more information about submitting comments, click here.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Lowry v. G&L Enterprises

The Utah Court of Appeals recently issued its opinion in Lowry v. G&L Enterprises, LLC. The case was between the Carol L. Lowry Irrevocable Trust and Fred Lowry (collectively, "Lowry") and G&L Enterprises LLC, Guy Palmer, and Lynda Palmer (collectively, "G&L").

Lowry and G&L own adjacent parcels of property near Manti in Sanpete County. A spring known as Crystal Springs is located on State property east of G&L's property. The water from Crystal Springs forms a natural stream that flows west across G&L's property to Lowry's property. Lowry has a right to use six-sevenths of the flow from the Springs, and G&L has the right to use the other one-seventh. A dispute arose when Lowry sought to replace the Crystal Springs stream on G&L's property with a pipeline. G&L opposed Lowry's efforts. Lowry filed suit, seeking to establish a prescriptive easement for a road crossing G&L's property.

Although Lowry only asked for a prescriptive easement across the road, which the district court granted, the district court also determined that Lowry was entitled to a prescriptive easement in the stream bed across G&L's property. The district court relied on Utah Code section 57-13a-102, which provides that a prescriptive easement for water conveyance may be established by continuous, open, and adverse use for twenty years. G&L sought review of the district court's decision from the Utah Court of Appeals.

The Court of Appeals identified the relevant issue as whether section 57-13a-102 applies to a natural stream. The Court of Appeals looked to section 57-13a-101's definition of a "water conveyance," which is "a canal, ditch, pipeline, or other means of conveying water." Based on this definition, the Court of Appeals determined that section 57-13a-102 applies only to artificially created watercourses, and not natural streams like Crystal Springs stream. Thus, the Court of Appeals ultimately concluded that the district court had erred in granting Lowry a prescriptive easement in Crystal Springs stream across G&L's property.

To read the full case, click here.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

2011 Legislature: More Water Bills Passed by Utah Legislature

Here are more water bills that have passed both the House and the Senate:

HB 247: Water Development Amendments
HB 428: Water Issues Task Force (click here to read the amended bill)
SB 103: Joint Use of a Canal or Ditch (click here to read the amended substituted bill)
SCR 3: Concurrent Resolution Supporting Continued Federal Funding of the Central Utah Project (click here to read the amended concurrent resolution). Governor Herbert has declined to sign SCR 3.