Congratulations to the
Wednesdays rally on the steps of the Capitol was just the beginning. There is still a tremendous amount of work ahead for anglers, floaters, and non-consumptive users of our waterways if we are to have an impact on HB 187 and the waters we will be able to fish in the future.
For those who don’t reside in
So where are we? On Friday HB 187 went to committee for its first reading. The throngs of concerned citizens overflowed chambers. Another room had to be set up to accommodate the growing numbers. It was awesome! The Natural Resources Committee was obviously taken back by the numbers that were in attendance. After long deliberation and a number of amendments were added the Bill passed 10-4, a distinct party line vote. Several bodies of water that had been left off the list were added: Blacksmith Fork and the Logan most notably, but there are still numerous bodies of water that you won’t be able to fish. Left Fork of the Huntington, Cottonwood Creek, Thistle, Creek, East Fork of the Sevier, just to name a few of those most known.
The Bill passed and now moves to the House, the fact that concessions were made shows that our efforts are having an impact but, there are still significant flaws with the Bill. Of these the most egregious pertains to definition of navigability and its relationship to the list; the list being a limited number of waters, 16 at this juncture that we’ll have access to. Rather than applying an acceptable definition of navigability. First off, HB 187’s definition is not reasonable. Second, an arbitrary list of waters was selected to which the definition was applied. Instead, all waters of the state should have been considered and tested for navigability, not just those where the minimal private property conflicts occurred. Blacksmith Fork and the Logan are examples of the erroneous of the process. Regardless, on no waters have they actually tested the current definition, they’ve just assumed.
With luck we’ll be able to get the Bill into interim. In talking with members of senate this past week, they would like to see this happen. One way or another, we’re going to have to deal with the oversights of the Supreme Court. Since were engaged, we might as well finish the process, it just needs to take a year to effectively draft a Bill that will address such a critical issue.
As we move forward, if you haven’t contacted your representative, it’s imperative that you do. You also need to contact the Natural Resources Committee. HB 187 has been assigned to this committee. Some of its members are very influential legislators and can have a significant impact on the Bill’s future.
To read a copy of the Bill or to find contact information on the committee and representatives, visit “Utah Water Guardians” website. You’ll find their link in my links section. It’s important to note that any e-mails you send put “Vote No on HB 187” in the subject header. They have received so many e-mails, that they don’t have time to read nor respond to them all, so putting this in the subject header is very important.
Regardless of where you are, if you care about fishing, this is your fishing future. What happens here is important to the rest of the nation. They aren’t building any more trout streams, steelhead or salmon rivers, or oceans. You can either sit by and watch those who have the resources continue to take away your access or you can get involved and be apart of preserving those fishing opportunities you, your children and future generations have the right to enjoy.