Getting money to continue reconstruction of the Bear River National Migratory Bird Refuge will be easier than obtaining funds for a proposed waterfowl area on Utah Lake, Rep. Jim Hansen, R-Utah, says.
The Bear River refuge was flooded by the rising Great Salt Lake in the mid-1980s. But when the waters receded, residents, businessmen and wildlife groups from Box Elder and Weber counties began planning to restore the vast marshlands and donating money and labor."Last year we were able to get $1.075 million in congressional appropriations," Hansen said. "I'm not certain what amount we could get for Bear River this year, but we'd probably want to double (last year's) amount."
Hansen predicted it will be another four years before all refuge waterfowl habitat areas are restored.
And, with improved wetlands management, he said, "this will be a better duck factory than it was before the flooding."
A series of control dikes will allow managers to dry out some refuge areas, killing off carp that "just mess it up for the waterfowl," he said. "This will give us a modern management technique that hasn't been there."
Hansen also wants to create a managed refuge in Utah Lake's Goshen Bay area, which already is a marshland.
"But the people down there are a little bitter about this," the Utah Republican said, and have opposed creation of a refuge at the southern end of Utah Lake.
Hansen said he will work with the rest of the congressional delegation seeking a couple million dollars a year over several years to establish the Goshen Bay refuge and build a system of water-control dikes.
"In my mind, it's really a good waterfowl reproduction area we ought to have protected," Hansen said. "And, it would draw the waterfowl away from the farms" in Utah County.