The Box Elder County Commission has received a check for $9,950 from the federal government in lieu of taxes for the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, abandoned four years ago to the encroaching waters of the Great Salt Lake.
Ouray National Refuge Manager Keith Hansen, who is also custodian of the Bear River refuge, told commissioners Tuesday "there is absolutely nothing left of the buildings, at the Bear River refuge, due to the moving ice over the last three years."Hansen said he has been assigned to serve as custodian of the Bear River refuge by the Denver office of the Fish and Wildlife Service.
He said as the waters of the Great Salt Lake recede, it is possible that cleanup can being later this summer "even though nothing is salvageable. We want to get back on line as a refuge and make it visibly better than before."
Hansen said a five-member team in Denver is planning to locate offices and shops for the Wildlife Service near Brigham City, meaning additional land above the flood waters will be needed.
"The Denver office tells me we are going to have smaller unit water impoundments (at refuges), which will give us better water control on the existing 65,000-acre (Bear River Refuge)," he said.
"The old system was not so good for water utilization. (The refuge) will be rebuilt and we will get the tourists and bird watchers back," he said.
Flood waters have ruined 10 miles of paved county road from west of Brigham City to the refuge, said Commissioner Robert Valentine. He said the county will have to build a new gravel road until money is available for a paved one.