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*********************************** HJM001........................................by RESOURCES AND CONSERVATION BEAR LAKE - Stating findings of the Legislature and urging the Congress of the United States and the Idaho, Utah and Wyoming delegations in Congress to support, work to pass and vote for legislation that will authorize and fund a feasibility study by the United States Corps of Engineers relating to the possibilities, benefits and costs of providing flood control above Bear Lake; and further urging Congress to allow and approve past local expenditures, equivalent to fifty percent of the total cost of the study, as the required local match. 02/01 House intro - 1st rdg - to printing 02/02 Rpt prt - to Res/Con 02/08 Rpt out - rec d/p - to 2nd rdg 02/09 2nd rdg - to 3rd rdg 02/10 3rd rdg - ADOPTED - voice vote Floor Sponsor - Wood Title apvd - to Senate 02/11 Senate intro - 1st rdg - to Res/Env 02/21 Rpt out - rec d/p - to 10th Ord 02/22 10th Ord - ADOPTED - voice vote Floor Sponsor - President Pro Tempore Geddes Title apvd - to House 02/23 To enrol 02/24 Rpt enrol - Sp signed 02/25 Pres signed 02/28 To Secretary of State
]]]] LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF IDAHO ]]]] Fifty-eighth Legislature First Regular Session - 2005 IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES HOUSE JOINT MEMORIAL NO. 1 BY RESOURCES AND CONSERVATION COMMITTEE 1 A JOINT MEMORIAL 2 TO THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED STATES IN CONGRESS 3 ASSEMBLED, AND TO THE CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATIONS REPRESENTING THE STATES OF 4 IDAHO, UTAH AND WYOMING IN THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES. 5 We, your Memorialists, the House of Representatives and the Senate of the 6 State of Idaho assembled in the First Regular Session of the Fifty-eighth 7 Idaho Legislature, do hereby respectfully represent that: 8 WHEREAS, the ongoing drought in the state of Idaho has had a profound 9 impact throughout the state, including the area of southeastern Idaho known as 10 the Bear River Basin. Although inadequate, during times of high water such as 11 spring runoff, Bear Lake is the major reservoir for containing flood waters of 12 the Bear River within the Bear River Basin. The effects of drought in the Bear 13 River Basin would be significantly reduced in the event alternative storage 14 sites were available; and 15 WHEREAS, the Bear River Basin encompasses 7,400 square miles with 2,700 16 square miles in the state of Idaho. Originating in Utah's Uintah Mountains, 17 the Bear River crosses state boundaries five times, has tributaries in Idaho, 18 Utah and Wyoming, and ultimately discharges into the Great Salt Lake; and 19 WHEREAS, the Bear River did not naturally divert into Bear Lake. The Utah 20 Sugar Company and the Telluride Power Company first proposed diversion of the 21 Bear River into Bear Lake for water storage in 1898. That project was taken 22 over by Utah Power and Light Company for the purpose of producing hydropower. 23 The project, which included a diversion dam on the Bear River, a canal, and a 24 pumping station was completed in 1918; and 25 WHEREAS, a multistate compact between the states of Idaho, Utah and 26 Wyoming, known as the Bear River Compact, was entered into in 1958 and amended 27 in 1980. The Compact governs the operation of the Bear River and, for manage- 28 ment purposes, the Compact divides the river into three segments. The three 29 segments are known as the Upper Division, located in Utah and Wyoming, the 30 Central Division, located in Wyoming and Idaho, and the Lower Division, 31 located in Idaho and Utah. The Bear River Commission, made up of three members 32 from each of the Compact states, a chairman appointed by the President of the 33 United States, and an engineer/manager, manages the day-to-day operation of 34 the river; and 35 WHEREAS, as a result of two lawsuits against Utah Power and Light Company 36 during the 1970's, which claimed damage to crops due to flooding along the 37 Bear River, the power company is under court order to keep the Bear River 38 within its banks. Based on the court order, in the event the irrigation season 39 ends with Bear Lake above 5,918 feet in elevation, water is released down- 40 stream to make room in Bear Lake for the spring runoff; and 41 WHEREAS, since the 1970's, millions of acre feet of water have been 42 released to provide capacity for flood control. Releases carry the river as 43 well as the surface water removed from Bear Lake downstream to the Great Salt 44 Lake where the principal beneficiary is the Great Salt Lake ecosystem. The 2 1 most recent releases were in 1997, 1998 and 1999; and 2 WHEREAS, lowering the elevation of Bear Lake in the Lower Division for 3 flood control also impacts water users in the Upper and Central Divisions. 4 Under the Compact, Woodruff Narrows Reservoir located in the Upper Division is 5 not allowed to fill whenever the elevation of Bear Lake is below 5,911 feet 6 above sea level, affecting both ground and surface water in that area. In 7 addition, when Woodruff Narrows Reservoir is not full, no water is available 8 for irrigation in a ten mile stretch of river in the Central Division leaving 9 irrigators in that area without water for their crops; and 10 WHEREAS, dredging has been necessary to provide water for irrigation due 11 to low lake levels; and 12 WHEREAS, studies to date have shown that use of Bear Lake for flood con- 13 trol has resulted in tons of suspended sediment solids to be deposited in the 14 lake during the spring runoff. This is highly detrimental to the ecosystem. 15 Increases in algae blooms on Bear Lake due to nitrates being carried in have 16 been documented; and 17 WHEREAS, in the event the water had not been released in the interest of 18 flood control, it is likely that Bear Lake would now be full or nearly full. 19 In that event, it is probable that there would be no need to pump water out of 20 Bear Lake for irrigation because there would be enough capacity to allow the 21 water to flow out by gravity, there would be no need to dredge in Bear Lake in 22 that the elevation of the lake would be high enough to make dredging unneces- 23 sary, and an elevation above 5,911 feet would allow upstream storage at the 24 Woodruff Narrows Reservoir; and 25 WHEREAS, extremely low levels in Bear Lake could cause a water emergency 26 to be declared by the state of Utah. The declaration would lead to closer 27 scrutiny of the natural flow rights administered under the interstate account- 28 ing system. The lack of adequate storage water to supplement natural flow 29 could result in the curtailment of rights in Idaho; and 30 WHEREAS, if alternate storage sites were available, several hundred thou- 31 sand acre feet of water would still be in Bear Lake to mitigate the effects of 32 the drought. Pursuant to the Bear River Compact, Idaho is entitled to store 33 approximately 125,000 acre feet of water annually and Utah about 390,000 acre 34 feet annually. Provided adequate storage, this water, which is usually avail- 35 able during the spring runoff, could be stored to prevent any flooding of the 36 Bear River. The water could then be used for irrigation, domestic and commer- 37 cial development and recreation. A reservoir above Bear Lake would allow chem- 38 icals to be neutralized and suspended solids to settle out that are now enter- 39 ing Bear Lake. Alternative storage sites would provide for the conservation, 40 preservation and best utilization of the water to which the state is entitled. 41 This storage is desperately needed to allow residential, commercial and munic- 42 ipal development in the Bear River drainage without reducing irrigated agri- 43 cultural lands; and 44 WHEREAS, flood control above Bear Lake would make possible a policy that 45 Bear Lake would be the first to fill and the last to empty. This would provide 46 more water for irrigation, minimize fluctuations of lake levels, improve 47 spawning habitat for Bear Lake cutthroat trout, provide boat-launching capa- 48 bility at Idaho state parks, and allow the filling of Woodruff Narrows Reser- 49 voir. Flood control above Bear Lake would greatly benefit the economy of all 50 three states in the Bear River drainage; and 51 WHEREAS, the United States Army Corps of Engineers is the federal agency 52 responsible for flood control. The Corps has indicated a willingness to con- 53 duct a feasibility study of possible water storage sites upstream from Bear 54 Lake which could be used for flood control of the Bear River. Costs of the 55 study could range from $600,000 to $2,000,000 depending on the areas the study 3 1 would include. The study will require an equal match of federal and nonfederal 2 funds. However, with congressional approval, past local expenditures may be 3 used as the local match; and 4 WHEREAS, past local expenditures that have been made include $174,000 by 5 the state of Wyoming for the Cokeville Reservoir project on Smith's Fork, 6 $350,000 by the state of Wyoming for the Bear River Plan and over $2,000,000 7 of state funds from Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah through the Bear River Commission 8 for stream gaging; and 9 WHEREAS, concerned citizens of the Bear River drainage, including the Bear 10 Lake County Commission, the Bear Lake Regional Commission, Bear Lake Watch, 11 Inc., and Love Bear Lake, Inc., are asking for Congressional approval to rec- 12 ognize past expenditures as the local match to make the Corps of Engineers 13 feasibility study possible. 14 NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the members of the First Regular Session 15 of the Fifty-eighth Idaho Legislature, the House of Representatives and the 16 Senate concurring therein, that we respectfully urge the Congress of the 17 United States and our Idaho delegation, as well as the Utah and Wyoming 18 delegations in Congress, to support, work to pass and vote for legislation 19 that will authorize and fund a feasibility study by the United States Corps of 20 Engineers relating to the possibilities, benefits and costs of providing flood 21 control above Bear Lake. 22 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we urge Congress to allow and approve past 23 local expenditures, equivalent to fifty percent of the total cost of the 24 study, as the required local match and that local expenditures to be allowed 25 and approved include $174,000 by the state of Wyoming for the Cokeville Reser- 26 voir project on Smith's Fork, $350,000 by the state of Wyoming for the Bear 27 River Plan and $2,000,000 of state funds from Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah for 28 stream gaging. 29 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Chief Clerk of the House of Representa- 30 tives be, and she is hereby authorized and directed to forward a copy of this 31 Memorial to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Repre- 32 sentatives of Congress, and the congressional delegations representing the 33 states of Idaho, Utah and Wyoming in the Congress of the United States.
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE RS 14657 A memorial to Congress and to the states of Wyoming and Utah and to the Idaho Congressional Delegation requesting that past investments in recent years by local government and the three states, be considered as the local match to make the requested Corps of Engineers feasibility study possible. That the three states delegations work together to support, work to pass, and vote for legislation that will authorize and fund a feasibility study by the United States Corps of Engineers relating to the possibilities, benefits and costs of providing flood control above Bear Lake. FISCAL NOTE We are asking that the past sums spent already, be the local match for Federal funds to be spent for the study. Wyoming invested: $174,000 $350,000 Idaho, Utah, Wyoming $2,000,000 $2,524,000 Contact Name: Rep. JoAn Wood Rep. Larry Bradford Sen. Robert Geddes Jr. Phone: 332-1111 STATEMENT OF PURPOSE/FISCAL NOTE HJM 1