Salt Lake Mayor Palmer DePaulis carried a draft bill to Washington, D.C., on Tuesday that, if passed, would make local watershed management more efficient by completing a 17,885-acre exchange between the city and the U.S. Forest Service.
The exchange is tailored to consolidate land ownership in nearby City Creek, Red Butte, Emigration, Parleys and Lamb's canyons, now owned in checkerboard fashion by the city and the Forest Service, officials said."The existing checkerboard ownership configuration of Salt Lake City and Forest Service lands in these canyons impedes efficient land and water management by either entity," DePaulis wrote in a letter to the Forest Service.
Under the proposed bill, the Forest Service would give Salt Lake City 8,950 acres while the city would swap 8,935 acres with the Forest Service.
DePaulis is in Washington this week to attend the U.S. Conference of Mayors 1989 winter meeting. While there, he will enlist support for the bill from Utah's congressmen, said Emilie Charles of the mayor's staff.
The bill is a result of nearly a year of negotiations to bring about the exchange, which DePaulis said would help the city and the Forest Service achieve common goals of watershed management and effective multiple use of land.
The city would assume ownership of land in City Creek, Emigration and northern portions of Parleys Canyon, said Public Utilities Director LeRoy Hooton Jr. That land would encompass Mountain Dell Reservoir and Little Dell Reservoir, now under construction.
The Forest Service would own land in Mill Creek and Big and Little Cottonwood canyons, he said. Private land would remain unaffected under the exchange.
Overall management of the city's 185 square miles of watershed would remain unaffected by the proposed exchange, Hooton said. However, the city would be able to consolidate services such as police patrols and garbage pickup in the canyons, Hooton said.