Wasatch Environmental Update for January 22, 2017
By John Worlock, Member of the Board of Directors of Save Our Canyons
“The Central Wasatch Watershed Under Attack”
For decades, Salt Lake City has exercised jurisdiction over the important watersheds in the Central Wasatch Canyons. These canyons not only provide water for hundreds of thousands of residents and enterprises in the Salt Lake Valley, but they also provide homes for the wildlife that inhabits the streams and the surrounding terrain.
Salt Lake City’s oversight has been strong and forward-looking and they have been able to keep the creeks clean and free of pollution, while preventing a variety of development ideas that would threaten erosion and encroachment on precious riparian areas.
For years, some Canyon landowners have grumbled about the City’s restriction on the development plans. The issue came to a focus recently as these landowners have managed to commandeer the state’s Quality Growth Commission, holding some hearings attacking the legality of the City’s jurisdiction over the watershed. Their complaints now threaten to spill over into the State Legislature, which has the power to revoke the City’s jurisdiction.
Save Our Canyons will be fighting this attack, as we have for years partnered with Salt Lake City in fighting the kinds of development that would harm not just the watershed but the wildness, the beauty and the tranquility of the canyons that we have defended for 44 years.
We’ll be joined in this enterprise by the mayors of Salt Lake City and Sandy,,the two cities in the valley that are most dependent on the canyons’ watershed, and have historically been strong partners in its protection.
So long as the issues stays within the purview of the innocuous Quality Growth Commission, we are not so worried. But if it turns up as legislation in the State Legislature, we will need to mount a massive public outpouring of support for Salt Lake’s continued jurisdiction over the canons’s watershed.
Stay in contact with Save Our Canyons, and we’ll be sure to let you know.