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Cove-East Fork Virgin River Watershed (Sponsor = Kane Co. Water Conservancy Dist

Project Description

The United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), with the Kane County Water Conservancy District as the project sponsor and Washington County Water Conservancy District as the co-sponsor, is proposing to partially fund through the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act (Public Law [PL] 83-566), the Cove-East Fork Virgin River Watershed Project located in Kane County, Utah. The proposed improvements include a new water storage facility (Cove Reservoir), or an alternate reservoir site, as well as other improvements within the existing Mt. Carmel, Glendale, and Orderville Irrigation Systems, as needed or identified. Improvements under consideration will address water conservation, agricultural and municipal demands, public safety risks, and increased opportunities for public recreation. Alternate reservoir sites are being considered.

This action is needed because agriculture users in the Upper Virgin Watershed routinely experience water shortages during late summer months when East Fork Virgin River flows are depleted. Existing irrigation facilities have limited capabilities to divert water from the river, and there is currently no capacity for storage during non-use and high-flow periods. As a result, adequate water is not available to local users; therefore, the purpose of the action is to provide enhanced conservation and beneficial use of water by increasing water availability through collection and storage during non-use periods to provide adequate flows during the irrigation season.

Cove Reservoir_Project Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Project Background

Initially known as the “Cove Reservoir Watershed” project, alternatives and associated impacts were analyzed in a Watershed Plan - Environmental Assessment (Plan-EA).  Initial technical resource studies and evaluations for the proposed action were conducted between Spring 2018 and Fall 2019 and a Draft Plan-EA was made available for public and agency review in Winter 2020/2021.  During the open comment period for the Draft Plan-EA, the NRCS and sponsor conducted a joint virtual public/agency meeting consisting of a presentation of the preferred alternative followed by an open question and answer session where attendees could openly voice opinions and ask specific questions about the proposed action.  After careful project review and consideration of comments received during the Draft Plan-EA comment period, the NRCS decided it appropriate to initiate the preparation of a Watershed Plan – Environmental Impact Statement (Plan-EIS) in order to analyze the proposed project in greater detail and to explore any other potentially viable alternatives. 

NEPA Analysis

NRCS, as the lead federal agency, is initiating National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis in the form of a Watershed Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (Plan-EIS) to analyze impacts to the natural and human environment from this project. The Plan-EIS will comply with the Council on Environmental Quality’s regulations at 40 CFR Parts 1500-1508 which require an evaluation of potential environmental impacts associated with federal projects and actions.

Current Status

The project is currently in the Scoping phase and the public, organizations, and agencies are invited to provide comments on the proposed project. The environmental review has been elevated to an Environmental Impact Statement and the project scoping period is being re-initiated.

Scoping Public Comment Period

Open:               Thursday, October 7, 2021

Close:              30 Days after NOI published in the Federal Register; Actual date TBD

 

Scoping Public Meeting – Virtual

Public Scoping Meeting Recording

Public Scoping Meeting Presentation

Date:               Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Time:               6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Location:          Virtual – Zoom

Meeting Link:   https://zoom.us/join    Enter Meeting ID:  891 2373 1558

How to be Added to the Project Mailing List…

To be added to the project mailing list, please provide your email address when logging into the public Zoom meeting or contact Brian Parker @ bparker@transcon.com or by phone at 480-807-0095

Project Documents

Scoping

Scoping Notice (PDF)

Fillable Comment Form (PDF)

Contact Information

For further project information please contact:

Brian Parker – Transcon Environmental
1745 South Alma School Road, Suite 220
Phoenix, AZ  85210
(480) 807-0095 phone
bparker@transcon.com

or

Norm Evenstad – NRCS
125 S. State Street – Room 4420
Salt Lake City, UT 84138-1100
801-524-4569 phone
norm.evenstad@ut.usda.gov

 

NOTE: We will add other directories as we move through the NEPA planning process.

 

Updated: October 6, 2021