The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is ready for the Colorado River Cutthroat Trout Restoration Project in the high Uinta Mountains. The project is scheduled for a couple of weeks after Labor Day along a stretch of the Sheep Creek drainage above the ten thousand foot level. The Utah DWR will be using rotenone to kill all of the non-native fish on the eight and half mile stretch of the streams and lakes, including brook, rainbow and Yellowstone cutthroat trout. Regional aquatics manager for the division Trina Hedrick says they’ve been waiting a long time for the right conditions.
As temperatures in Utah continue to approach and exceed 100 degrees, cities across the state are trying to meet high energy demands. In southern Utah, St. George’s population growth has made them less dependent on outside companies for energy and spurred a growth in their own energy infrastructure.
The Bureau of Land Management was expected to issue a decision this fall on whether to allow Alton Coal Development LLC to expand its strip mine in Kane County. But it's now decided to issue a Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the project. That won't come out until early next year, and it will be followed by another six-week period for public comment. Keith Rigtrup, who has supervised the process for the BLM since it was first proposed in 2006, says they got a lot of feedback on the draft EIS.
More Salt Lake City neighborhoods now have some added incentives to cut back on driving. The City announced today it will expand its SmartTrips program which encourages residents to get out of their cars and instead take public transportation, bike or walk to their destination. Smart Trips provides residents who sign up for the program with resources like bike maps and bus schedules. They’ll also get a free pedometer, bicycle taillight AND a one-week pass to ride UTA.
Cyclists in National Parks around the country may soon have more trail riding opportunities. A rule change by the National Park Service will allow individual parks to decide whether to open certain areas to bike traffic.
U.S. Forest Service updates size of burn area. They say the fire has now burned 1993 acres but is still growing and is 5% contained.
Update 12:35 p.m. July 4, 2012
Firefighters continue to fight the wildfire known as the Quail fire in the mountains near Alpine, Utah this morning. The fire is still at 0% containment but residents living south of 300 N and west of Oak Hills in Alpine have been allowed to return to their homes. All other evacuation orders still stand.
The Fremont Indians lived in what is now Utah from 700 to 1300 A.D. Little is known about this group of Native Americans, but some archeologists discovered a unique structure in central Utah that could expalin more about their way of life.
With more than 80,000 acres of Utah land in flames, city officials are placing considerable restrictions on the use of fireworks throughout the state. Utah Governor Gary Herbert addressed reporters outside the state capitol Thursday with the State Fire Marshall and dozens of city mayors.
Thousands of Utah residents were able to return home on Saturday after a massive wildfire whipped through Saratoga Springs and Eagle Mountain last week. The fire began on Thursday and scorched more than 6,000 acres of land, coming dangerously close to homes but none were damaged. About 588 homes were evacuated Friday, but residents were able to return Saturday evening. Officials had determined a shift in wind pushed the fire back on itself. Steve Layton says the flames were about 100 yards from his home in Saratoga Springs when he evacuated.
A wildfire continues to burn Friday evening in Western Utah County near Saratoga Springs and Eagle Mountain. Mandatory evacuations have forced thousands of people out of their homes. Sergeant Spencer Cannon is a Public Information Officer with the Utah County Sheriff Department. He says that officers have been going to door to door, telling people they need to leave.
“Of course people don’t like doing that, but we’ll increase patrols in the area and make sure homes are protected,” said Cannon.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is asking for public comment on a proposed land swap in the Skull Valley area of Utah's West Desert. It would trade about 14,000 acres, mostly near the town of Terra, for a similar acreage of private land in and around the Onaqui Mountains east of Dugway.
The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance supports the trade. Field Director Ray Bloxham says this is an unspoiled area of the state.
The Utah Division of Water Quality has begun a long-term project to set new pollution standards for the Great Salt Lake. The lake contains significant levels of toxic pollutants such as arsenic, lead, selenium and mercury, among other things. Jeff Ostermiller, the chief of the Water Quality Management Section at the division, says some of that comes from industries surrounding the lake. But he says there are many other sources as well, including urban runoff from streets along the Wasatch Front.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has approved a plan proposed by Gasco to drill 1,300 new oil and gas wells in eastern Utah over the next 15 years. Some of the wells will be drilled in the Desolation Canyon area near the Green River. That has environmental groups warning of what they call a "disaster."
New restrictions to help prevent wildfires across Utah were put in place Thursday. The dry weather and lack of rain have created an early and intense fire season that is expected to continue if conditions don’t change.