Instream Flow to Protect Trout Habitat
Our Position: support
SB 29 would allow non-profit groups that promote fishing in Utah to apply for 10-year water rights to protect or promote 3 species of trout.
Bill Number: sb29
Sponsor: Sen Pete Knudson (R-Brigham City)
Legislative Session: 2007 General Session
Currently DWR and state parks are the only entities permitted to hold water rights exclusively for instream flow purposes. For political and financial reasons, they have acquired very few water rights to date.
Although it's frustrating that the new water rights established by this legislation would last for only 10 years, if passed, it would let non-profits into the game for the first time. Similar legislation has been proposed, I believe, twice already and failed. By limiting the duration of the water right change, the nature of the non-profits that can participate, and the benefiting fish species, this bill might raise few enough objections to pass.
The amendments passed in senate committee provide more specifics relating to diversion structures and the reversion of water rights after the change orders expire.
The senate voted 27-0-2 to approve this bill.
It passed the House Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Committee on February 12th by a very narrow margin, 7-6-2. The committee members who voted correctly on the bill are listed below. If one of them is your representative, please call to say thank you. The main house phone number--one can leave a message for any representative on this line--is 538-1029.
The bill was defeated narrowly on the house floor on Feb 14th. The vote was 36-32-7, two votes shy of a majority. Many of the nays were rural Republicans among whom questions and doubts about this bill have been sown. Some hope remains of reviving the bill, but it would require a strong showing of support in the house.
Rep. Roger E. Barrus, Chair
Rep. Kerry W. Gibson, Vice Chair
Rep. Sylvia S. Andersen
Rep. Jack R. Draxler
Rep. Carl W. Duckworth
Rep. James R. Gowans
Rep. Stephen E. Sandstrom
Read the amended bill language here. To find your representative, check the district maps.