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Feds to rule on key water rights issue

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Feds to rule on key water rights issue

Post by Jeff Young on Thu 08 Dec 2011, 6:12 pm

http://news.yahoo.com/dam-dispute-draws-lewis-clarks-travels-192410073.html
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Re: Feds to rule on key water rights issue

Post by brianteats on Thu 08 Dec 2011, 6:29 pm

lol, state governments desperate for any penny they can make. Charging rent on underwater land...seriously? The company could counter-suit on how much money was brought into the state for water-use taxes, lake-side property values, and recreation. Or threaten with, "OK, we'll destroy all our dams and lakes, you can have the land back- and have no flood control, agricultural water, or hydroelectric."

As far as defining navigable rivers, always a gray area, always will be.
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Re: Feds to rule on key water rights issue

Post by wasatchbill on Fri 09 Dec 2011, 4:40 pm

It certainly sounds odd Brian, but if we are in favor of public access to rivers (which involves standing on the streambed below high water line, at least at the putin and takeout), then hopefully the state of MT wins this one.

http://www.mountainbuzz.com/forums/f14/what-are-your-top-10-ways-ppl-mt-relates-to-colorado-navigability-use-and-portage-40763.html
The above link mentions other lawsuits that will be affected by this ruling, including:
The currently in-process pending Utah Stream Access Coalition (USAC) Weber River Navigability law suit at
http://www.i9studios.com/USAC/USAC%20Complaint%20-%20Lawsuit%202.pdf
---> Factual Legal Background-The Weber River, paragraphs 13-17.

This hits much closer to home. One argument for the upper Weber above Rockport reservoir being "navigable" is that it is in the 1982 Nichols "Riverrunners guide to Utah", and it has a history of being paddled. Evidently in 2010 a barbed wire fence was put up across the entire river, by private landowners adjacent to the river, as well as No Trespassing signs, and they claim the banks and water are private property.

Come to think of it, that fence would have been taken out in the floods (a certain poetic justice there). I wonder if they put it back up- anyone know?



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Re: Feds to rule on key water rights issue

Post by brianteats on Fri 09 Dec 2011, 5:35 pm

Yeah, I was avoiding the major issue of navigable rivers. The rent thing can go either way, dams are an unfortunate nessecary evil in this day and age.(didn't mean to ruffle any feathers out there)

I can play devil's advocate though-

Navigable waters of the United States, as defined in 33 CFR 329, are those waters that are subject to the ebb and flow of the tide and/or are presently used, or have been used in the past, or may be susceptible for use to transport interstate or foreign commerce while the waterway is in its ordinary condition.(wikipedia)

Specifically- Waters...blah blah...to transport commerce...yadda yadda....ordinary conditions.

The 'portage problem' definately adds complexity to moving commerce by a river. "Portage" by definition- the practice of carrying watercraft or cargo over land to avoid river obstacles, or between two bodies of water- means you leave the water, to move commerce, because you are unable to navigate that section.

I can't think of a similiar comarision, like cars/roads, because it's a unique situation. However, I think if you leave the water with full intention of returning to it, carrying watercraft and cargo, that should support the argument that the whole river is navigable, though.
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