Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Legacy Project benefits


The Wood River Legacy Project is designed to encourage enhanced stream flows in both Silver Creek and the Big Wood River. Current Idaho water law requires that water right hold-ers "use it or lose it" with out any recognition for that use to be put back in the stream that benefits recreational, wildlife and aesthetic purposes.

The Legacy Project proposes legislation so that water rights holders can temporarily or permanently donate their wa-ter to the stream without losing their water rights. Water can be left in the stream rather than put to a marginal use just to maintain a water right. This also benefits water rights hold-ers as they do not need to con-stantly maintain that right by irrigating when they don't need it.

As for the concern for losing flows in Silver Creek and the Bellevue Triangle, the Legacy Project is designed to protect those water rights and the stream flow there. As proposed, the project is designed to sepa-rate the District 45 Canal (which flows into the Bellevue Triangle and Silver Creek) from water that is donated to the Big Wood. If someone do-nates water to the Big Wood River it must come from Big Wood water that is not diverted into the District 45 Canal. The Legacy Project will allow water right holders on the District 45 Canal or in Silver Creek to do-nate their water only to Silver Creek.

You can contact any of the Wood River Legacy Project lo-cal board members, including Andy Munter at Backwoods Mountain Sports or Scott Schnebly at Lost River Outfit-ters, with concerns or ques-tions. You can also contact the same folks to support the proj-ect.

The Legacy Project seeks to increase stream flows for the Big Wood and Silver Creek, benefit down-basin water us-ers, and help replenish our aq-uifers. The project is endorsed by five counties, the major cit-ies in those counties and the Big Wood and North Side Canal Companies. It is a great start that allows people to care for the health of our rivers.

Carl Evenson

Bellevue




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