As an outdoor enthusiast and longtime Scouter, I hope the Legislature will quickly pass HB117, a bill sponsored by Rep. Steve Sandstrom of Orem and Sen. Pete Knudson of Brigham City. The bill establishes a 10-year pilot program to allow water-rights holders (primarily farmers and ranchers, on a purely voluntary basis) to lease water to fishing groups like Trout Unlimited to protect trout habitat. An in-stream lease cannot affect other water rights, as all water leased is available for downstream users.With our burgeoning population, we face the constant challenge of exercising sound stewardship of our natural resources and protecting the beauty that makes us glad to call Utah our home. The in-stream flow bill presents a very small, but vital, opportunity to preserve these resources without impairing vested rights or interfering with free enterprise.
William G. Marsden