Lawmakers pay for dredging at both Utah Lake and the Great Salt Lake, state parks expansions fail
Sailors are accustomed to smoothly and silently gliding across the water. But they also apparently know how to make waves.
Faced with the possibility of losing access to the Great Salt Lake due to low water this year, members of the Great Salt Lake Yacht Club powered into action and preserved a 140-year tradition — at least for the near future. State lawmakers this week set aside $1.5 million to dredge the Great Salt Lake Marina.
Earlier in the 2015 Legislative Session, Utah State Parks officials said they had only enough money to dredge one state marina and recommended spending it at Utah Lake.
“We had to operate very quickly. It kind of took us by surprise,” said Great Salt Lake Yacht Club member Janet Robins. “Unfortunately, we had to take the tactic of rescue boats. We want to thank those legislators who supported our efforts.”
In the end, lawmakers found money to dredge Utah Lake’s marina as well.
Utah State Parks director Fred Hayes credited the community with milking another $1.5 million from the Legislature. Dredging is now slated to start at both marinas as soon as possible after July 1.
“I just hope we get some more water,” Hayes said. “I’d hate to spend $3 million for dredging and have both lakes get too low for boating.”
Boaters on other Utah lakes will notice a change this summer.
The Legislature approved a $10 surcharge on boat registrations — the Aquatic Invasive Species Fee — to fight the introduction of tiny quagga mussels. Microscopic juvenile quagga veligers were confirmed at Deer Creek Reservoir last fall. Boaters will pay the extra charge starting July 1.
And recreationists at Bear Lake will have to watch for cars near the beach. Legislators approved a bill to allow boaters to drive down to the water line to launch motorboats with a permit from the Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands.
Lawmakers also set aside $300,000 to fund three quagga checkpoints at Bear Lake.
Other proposals to expand or create new state parks did not fare so well on Capitol Hill.
Sandy Republican Rep. Steve Eliason had proposed Utah State Parks expand Goblin Valley State Park by working with the Bureau of Land Management to pursue a land transfer. Legislative fiscal analysts estimated the cost of expanding Goblin Valley at $1.33 million a year.
State Parks officials already are working with Emery County and U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop to expand Goblin Valley through the Public Lands Initiative.
Eliason also sponsored a bill for Utah State Parks to take over management of the BLM’s Little Sahara Recreation Area in Juab County with a land transfer or possible lease or purchase of the land. Part of the bill would have renamed the existing Rockwell Outstanding Natural Area within Little Sahara to the “Bill Orton State Wilderness Area.” Orton was a former Utah congressman who died in an ATV accident at Little Sahara in April 2009.
Finally, the San Rafael Swell proposal would have created an 11,000-acre state park if agreements could be made with the BLM and Utah’s School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration.
Hayes had previously stated that it would be possible for Utah State Parks to take over Little Sahara and make it work, but his agency was focused on the Goblin Valley expansion. Hayes said Friday that parks managers will continue to study the feasibility of all of Eliason’s proposed bills.
One other failed bill would have required Utah State Parks to develop recommendations and cost estimates for improving historic trails, including the Mormon Trail.
Update April 14, 2015:
We have been told that the Army Corps of Engineers and structural engineers need to evaluate the break walls and how deep we can dredge the marina. The state can not start getting bids until cash in in hand, which will be on the start of fiscal year 2016. FY2016 starts July 1, 2015.
At this point the state can start moving forward. Harbormaster Dave has asked that any boats with a draft of over 4′ be pulled out on the April crane days, and any boats over 3′ be pulled on the May crane days. This is so there will be no obstacles for the dredging equipment and your boat wont be stuck in the mud.
Plans are to be done with dredging in mid August so we can get our boats back out in the water.
If your boat is out of the water please contact a board member and we will get you in touch with members that still have boats in the water so you can continue to sail/race/cruise with the GSLYC while we work through these obstacles.
The GSLYC has a new phone 385-336-SAIL (7245) There you can reach the all the board members with 1 number.
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE get your memberships in. These help fund events and socials. Let’s not let the water levels get us down. There’s still plenty of fun to be had.
D.Gwyther /Cruise Chair
As all of you are aware, Mother Nature has been less than cooperative this winter and snowpack is not near where we would want it to be. Per Dave’s updates the spring runoff has already begun and it looks as though the lake level has peaked and is once again on the decline. Hopefully yesterday’s storm has a positive effect even if it is a small one.
We have been allocated the requested $1.5 million for dredging of our marina after an epic battle with the Legislature. Thanks to all who helped to lobby for this funding especially Janet Robins. The funds will be unavailable until the beginning of the fiscal year which is July 1st, 2015. Despite the inconvenient timing of this we are grateful for the light at the end of the tunnel and happy that our marina is finally going to get the much-needed attention that it deserves.
Many of you are pulling your boats from the water on Crane Day next week in anticipation of the dredging and unfortunately the low water levels. While this is an unfortunate situation it will assist with the dredging and hopefully we can look forward to sailing in the late summer/early fall.
As a result of these things, I have spoken with Dave Shearer and based on information it is the decision of the Board to postpone this year’s Sailfest celebration until after the dredging has been done. We know that this is disappointing but considering that a big part of the Sailfest celebration is geared towards being on the water and promoting sailing on the Great Salt Lake to the general public we feel that this is the best decision at this time. We are planning on deferring this event to the early fall in conjunction with the completion of the dredging. We are still planning on several club events in lieu of Sailfest including an event for the same weekend centering around the cardboard boat races and we as a board encourage everyone who wants to build a boat and participate! We will also be doing movie nights on the lawn and a small social each month during the summer. The updated calendar of events will be available at Opening Day.
As Commodore I realize that this is bittersweet for our club. While the dredging will occur it will happen later than any of us would like but this is out of our hands. And all of us are aware that we cannot change the weather. Still, I am hopeful that we will maintain our membership as a club and “adjust our sails” during this time. This club has a history that we as members need to maintain as well as the friendships that we all value with each other.
T.Jackson, Commodore GSLYC
FYI at the December 17 GSL Technical Team meeting, Joe Havasi of Compass Minerals gave a detailed update in Powerpoint on the Revised Expansion Plan for GSL Minerals, now Compass Minerals.
To view the presentation on FFSL website; www.ffsl.utah.gov then to state lands>Great Salt Lake>GSL technical team>presentations>2015. The Bear River Feasibility Study presentation on August 8 is also there.
From: Dave Shearer <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 01/11/2016 5:53 PM (GMT-07:00)
Subject: Dredging update
The design engineering work is almost done. With this brings good and bad news. Further on that in a minute.
Once design engineering work is complete the dredging project will be put out to bid by DFCM. The bidding process is open for two weeks. Once the two weeks are up the bids will be reviewed and a successful bidder will be awarded the contract. At that point the contracts must be signed and then the contractor will need to begin mobilization.
Estimates right now are that dredging may be able to begin late February to late March.
The good news is that we are planning on cutting through the reef to make a much shorter and more direct path to open water. But the bad news is that JUB Engineering completed their survey work earlier this month and found the original estimates to be way short on how much material would need to be removed from the new channel. This does two things: the first is that it substantially increases the cost of cutting an new channel (although this is still cheaper than dredging the existing channel). The second problem is that it expands the containment area where the spoils must be deposited. JUB is currently checking their figures.
Another point that is not quite settled is the containment area. Army Corp has not signed off on the chosen site but I do not expect this to be a large hurtle.
We would like to dredge to a depth of having 10 feet of water in the channel and the marina. But funds may not be there to do that. We are currently looking for more funds but we may also may have to not dredge quite so deep.
We will keep you posted. I am having my traditional Harbor Master Polar Bear Clam Chowder Party on Saturday, January 30th at 11am. It will be held Trestle dock (my deck at the marina). We will have a dredging update meeting at that time. The whole marina community is invited to this party and meeting.
The lake has already begun to rise and the snowpack isn’t stellar but it is decent.
I have been assured that Great Salt Lake Marina is the priority right now.
See you soon.
Great Salt Lake State Marina
Antelope Island Marina