After two weeks of neglect, Red Butte Dam is again being maintained.
The Army, U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reached a tentative agreement Wednesday on dam maintenance - but only for the short term.The Army built and has been responsible for the dam and reservoir since 1930. However, it let its maintenance contract expire March 14, saying it has run out of money. That means no one has been checking water levels at the dam, creating a danger of flooding and threatening an endangered fish, the June sucker, living in the reservoir.
But the three federal entities verbally agreed Wednesday to pitch in to keep a bare-bones dam maintenance schedule going, at least into the summer, while the long-term fate of the dam is determined.
It turns out the Army's maintenance fund still has several hundred dollars left, which it has agreed to spend, and the Fish and Wildlife Service agreed to chip in $2,500. The Forest Service has set aside an emergency procurement fund of $7,500 to cover costs if they aren't covered some other way (though it plans to bill the Army if it has to spend any of that money).
"We're not going to sit back and let a crisis develop," said Forest Service regional lands staff officer Jon Leonard.
The Fish and Wildlife Service's concern is the endangered June sucker fish.