The Forest Service is recommending 24 river and stream segments in Utah as suitable for protection under the US Wild and Scenic Rivers system. Those segments total 212 miles.
Conservationists had hoped more Utah waters would be included in the program, but are expressing support for the Forest Service proposal.
The Salt Lake Tribune has this article
on the recommendation. Here are excerpts:
That's only about a quarter of the waterways the agency previously found eligible. But any Utah river designated wild and scenic would be a significant accomplishment, said Utah Rivers Council spokesman Mark Danenhauer.
The council has been pushing for all 840 miles of waterways in 86 eligible rivers and streams to be put on the list. Many other conservation groups and individuals likely will be disappointed in the preferred alternative detailed in the Forest Service's recently released draft environmental impact statement, Danenhauer said.
Still, he said, "they are recommending 24 segments. That is not a small number of rivers. It is a really good step forward."
The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act initially aimed to slow dam construction in the East. The West's distinct ecosystems, especially in arid Utah, pose a challenge to interpreting the law here, (Dixie National Forest Spokesman Kenton) Call said. And the streams that come alive only during thunderstorms or spring runoff may be underrepresented in the national system, he said.
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