A letter of protest is being sent to the state water engineer regarding the listing of three U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service water applications in the Pahranagat Valley.
Connie Simkins asked the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners to review the protest letter she is preparing on their behalf at the direction of chairman Kevin Phillips.
Some of the concerns stated in the letter include, “the place of use maps which show 5,000 acres that occur within 21 sections for 10 different water applications all on the same map.”
She said, in one instance, “the location of South Maynard Spring is not inside the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service area according to their own map, and another place, on Cottonwood Springs, already has 5,900 acre-feet annually of permitted water rights.
In 1997, Simkins noted the Lincoln County commissioners, the Lincoln County Public Lands Council, Alamo Irrigation Company and the Lincoln County Water District protested all this, but it was never taken to hearing.
“We are maintaining in this letter that the reasons they gave in those protests remain valid and persuasive to this day,” she said. “And we are saying the fish and wildlife service failed to consider the economic, historic and cultural concerns that were raised in 1997.”
In addition, she said “the applications don’t contain details of how they plan to move or divert the water, and they fail to say what kind of wildlife are there and how much water these animals would consume. We believe the water engineer should require the agency to present specific data, including spring discharge and biological studies to identify the wildlife this water could sustain and do hydrological studies that would indicate if there is enough flow available to be assigned to this proposed use.”
Commissioner Varlin Higbee said it is his understanding there are one or two wells on the properties mentioned that have not been used, and he requested language be added to the protest letter complaining about the non-use of existing wells.
Board members unanimously approved the letter of protest.