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Shrinking reservoirs causing headaches for fishing, boating in Utah

Published: Friday, July 26 2013 6:05 p.m. MDT

Low reservoirs also expose new hazards for boaters, so being out on the water requires a more watchful eye, he said.

Hayes said while most waters remain viable for boating, as the water levels drop, the worries increase.

"We're a little worried about some of the lakes losing some of our launching facilities," he said. "Some of them don't go out very far to accommodate really low water."

Ironically, the North Marina at Willard Bay State Park — which just opened July 19 after being closed for four months due to a diesel fuel pipeline spill — may have to close again if the water gets to low.

"It is built on the Great Salt Lake flats and if it silts in the marina, you can't get a boat out. The passage way is silted in."

Hayes said the area has been dredged a few times, but there is that possibility the silt will build up again.

"It becomes a mud flat between the launching facilities and the rest of the lake," Hayes said.

Still, Cushing said the there is good news to be found in the face of Utah's shriveling waterways.

"Although access is not what it should be and we have had some fish kills, but everything but the low to mid-level reservoirs are fishing very well well."

He added that this summer has been reminiscent of the drought years in the early 2000's.

"Utah is a desert state by nature and so you can expect these drought cycles," he said, "but that was a pretty rough stretch back then. We don't need that again. We need snowpack that is 100 percent or better, in the right places at the right time, so we hold that snow, hold that groundwater and have some runoff to fill our reservoirs."

Hayes, too, has his hopes pinned on winter snowfall.

"If we have another year like this year, we will be in trouble statewide and not just with recreation, with water supply."

Email: amyjoi@deseretnews.com

Twitter: amyjoi16

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