‘Another straw in the tank’: Public comment sought on proposed Santa Clara water pipeline

St. George News file photo shows a portion of Cove Wash Trail near Santa Clara, Utah, date unspecified | Photo by Julie Applegate, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The Bureau of Land Management is seeking public input on a draft of an environmental assessment that would grant or deny Santa Clara City the right-of-way to build a new water pipeline.

High pressure water flushing out of an agriculture industrial tube well in fields. Stock image | Photo by zms/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

The amendment proposed by Santa Clara City is for a right-of-way for more infrastructure in the South Hills area. 

The public will be able to read the draft and send their comments to the bureau until Dec. 24. The amendment would help meet the demand for water and improve travel conditions along a section of Stucki Springs Road, according to a press release from the bureau.

The city hopes to install a new water line from the South Hills water tank down to the Edge Development, widen and gravel the two-track road leading to the Santa Clara Adventure Park, water tank and Cove Wash Trailhead, and reduce the slope where the road meets public lands to allow for safer access. 

Because the area is frequently used by hikers, mountain bikers and ATVs, in addition to a number of private landowners, the new water line and road improvements are much-needed, Santa Clara City Manager Brock Jacobsen said. 

“Without this, we can’t get water up to that park or any other new development in South Hills,” Jacobsen said. “I think it’s going to improve the road. Hopefully, it helps people who want to recreate and people who own private land.” 

The proposed water line project is on land managed by the BLM. Before the city can begin to design the new infrastructure, the bureau must assess the area and make a final decision on whether to grant the amendment. It must also gather public opinion to help identify the purpose and need for the project, BLM spokesman Christian Venhuizen said. 

“We’re asking for substantive comments,” Venhuizen said. “Not just ‘I like this’ or ‘I don’t like this’ but things like ‘because it impacts my ability to walk my dog’ or ‘there are massive amounts of dust here that we see which was not in your analysis.’” 

The public is encouraged to read the draft, send in their feedback and include why they believe the project will impact their lives, Venhuizen said. He added that feedback that addresses the negatives of the project is helpful too because it helps the bureau understand how it will impact people’s lives and what needs to be done. The bureau will then review all the comments and make adjustments to the assessment where needed before making their final decision. 

Santa Clara Mayor Rick Rosenberg speaks at the unveiling for the new glockenspiel clock tower in Santa Clara, Utah, Sept. 18, 2017 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

So far, no groups or individuals have come forward in opposition to the amendment, Mayor Rick Rosenberg said, and any environmental concerns have been assessed by the city to the satisfaction of the bureau. The new infrastructure will add redundancy to the services that are already in place for landowners in the area, he said.

“This will provide additional pressure and services for some of the properties down on that side of the river,” Rosenberg said. “It will be another straw in the tank for the city.”

Those who are interested can read the draft and send in their comments here before Dec. 24.

Commenters will be asked to include their name and street address. The entire comment including identifiable information may be made public at any time, and the bureau cannot guarantee that it will be able to withhold identifiable information from public view upon request.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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